Our View: Congress must act to stop the carnage

An American flag flies at half-staff at the White House, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Washington, to honor the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Our nation cried this week along with the parents of the 19 children and two teachers in a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, who were murdered Tuesday. Just two days later, lawmakers tried to deflect the conversation about why the gunman was allowed to buy two semiautomatic rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition right after his 18th birthday on May 16.

This quick subterfuge by lawmakers was meant to take our eyes off the true matter: Congress must be discussing legislation that would provide more scrutiny for people who want to buy high-powered weapons for the sole purpose of going on a rampage to murder innocent people. Of course, not all people who purchase these weapons go on a murderous rampage, but laws are needed to try to weed out the most dangerous through increased scrutiny and background checks.

On Tuesday it was children in Texas. Just 10 days before it was 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket. Both tragedies were committed by teenagers who went on social media minutes before their attacks to let the world know their plans.

We witness these despicable acts, mourn, pray, demand action and … wait. But nothing happens to protect us. Right now there are two gun bills that have been passed in the U.S. House but sit in the U.S. Senate: H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446. Each would tighten gun sales regulations by expanding background checks.

Why do these bills and other similar actions linger? Because too many lawmakers receive sizable donations from gun lobbies, such as the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers. In essence, these lawmakers are being controlled by those who profit enormously from gun sales.

A sizable majority of Americans, those of us outraged by the attacks, want action right now. We call on the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to heed these wishes, and show courage to stand up to the NRA and gun lobbies.

We support the Second Amendment, and the right for Americans to protect themselves and bear arms. But we need laws that make it harder to buy high-powered assault weapons that have just one purpose – killing human beings. These people waging such attacks are terrorists. They walk into a public school, place of worship or business and want nothing more than to spill the blood of innocent people.

And if a lawmaker won’t fight to protect us, we call upon Americans to vote them out of office.

This carnage doesn’t have to happen and it must end. Congress can help make it happen.