Gun reform a bipartisan issue

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke may have been a bit dramatic when he said, “We’re coming for your guns!”, but we need to remember that his hometown of El Paso, Texas, had recently been the site of a massacre.

Certainly it is true that in the U.S. more and more citizens are in favor of banning semi-automatic weapons. A Politico/Morning Consult poll (liberal) indicated that nearly 70 percent of all voters would back a ban on assault rifles. And, even more interesting, a Fox News (conservative) poll showed that 67 percent supported banning assault-style rifles, semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. So there really is bipartisan agreement, in spite of what President Trump and the loud voices of the NRA are saying.There was a time (under a Republican president), when Congress understood that.

Fifteen years ago, in 1994, a U.S. law barred the “manufacture, transfer, and possession” of 19 types of military-grade weapons, and all magazines holding over 10 rounds. It passed with the support of Presidents Reagan, Ford and Carter. In the next 10 years, use of these weapons decreased dramatically. Mass-shooting deaths dropped by 70 percent!

Of course, the National Rifle Association made the repeal of this law its top priority, and poured millions of dollars into congressional campaigns in exchange for the support of politicians. Finally the NRA succeeded, and the ban expired in 2004.

Since then, the number of deaths in mass shootings has increased by 239 percent.

Until now, efforts to renew the ban have been unsuccessful, but finally the American people are speaking up. They are looking for representatives who will represent them. And now the NRA is operating in the red, and can no longer afford to buy the support of loyal congressman like Rep. Ben Cline. (He received nearly $50,000, including direct contributions and from pro-gun PAC’s in his 2018 campaign.)

Polls don’t always tell the story. We don’t need to depend on them. Deep in our hearts we know. Military weapons do not belong on the streets and in the schools of our country!

SOLVEIG KJESETH

Lynchburg

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