Recent events have shocked and horrified our nation once again. In Buffalo New York, ten mostly senior African Americans were gunned down while they did their usual Saturday afternoon grocery shopping. Less than two weeks later in Uvalde Texas nineteen mostly Mexican American fourth graders and two teachers were shot and killed as they closed their school year and sat in their classrooms celebrating the academic awards they had just earned. Then just this week four people were gunned down on the second floor of a hospital complex in Tulsa Oklahoma including two doctors, a receptionist, and a patient. These three groups presented no threat to anyone and certainly did not deserve what happened to them. Something is wrong when things like this happen over and over again in our country where all citizens are supposed to live in peace and freedom and feel safe in their own neighborhood. There is one common denominator in all of the mass shootings we have witnessed in our country in the past twenty years including these three incidents. Someone had possession of a weapon that they shouldn’t have had possession of if a few simple gun safety rules had been had been implemented and followed.
After each violent episode in the past, politicians have offered thoughts and prayers and wrung their hands over these mass killings but little action has been taken to rectify the situation on a governmental level. Now Congress has begun deliberation in a bipartisan manner to adopt sensible gun safety rules that will help keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who pose a danger to society. Some of the measures being considered are universal background checks no matter where the guns are purchased, strengthening “red flag” laws so that people suffering from mental illness or emotional problems cannot possess or purchase a gun, proper training for and storage of any firearms purchased legally, outlawing high capacity magazines, and financing an increase in spending for mental health care around the nation. These are all steps in the right direction but more should be done down the road. There should be permit requirements for all gun ownership and that permit should include proper training for use of all firearms. Enforcement of red flag laws should be universal among all the states. People with known and apparent mental health issues should not posses or be able to buy guns. More health agencies should be allowed to identify who these unqualified individuals are. Governments should be legally able to confiscate firearms from those who pose a threat. No one under the age of 21 should be allowed to purchase or own an assault weapon or semi-automatic firearm. There should be a waiting period after a gun permit is issued before the gun can be purchased. The sale of body armor should be forbidden to the general public All of these suggestions are common sense solutions that can help reduce the mass carnage we are seeing in increased frequency in our nation.
As Ladies of Charity we are dedicated to serving those who need us most in every neighborhood and region where we are present. Hate, hate speech, and violence have no place in our thought process or spiritual life. Our Vincentian charism instructs us to love and care for all we meet and see Jesus in the faces of all we serve. There are times in that care for others when we need to speak up and let others know, especially those we elect to serve us in government, that our concern for others includes keeping the people in the very neighborhoods we function in safe from indiscriminate or intentional violence. We can advocate for people by contacting our Congressional representatives, both in the House and Senate, and let them know that sensible gun safety laws need to be passed and that the time to act is NOW. Please let your own state representatives know how you feel as well. The offices of Congressional representatives can be contacted on your computer or phone. Encourage others to do the same.
Thank You for Your Advocacy.
– LCUSA Advocacy Committee