This post first appeared in the DWGC’s monthly newsletter, The Donkey’s Tale, in April 2021.
By Mary Wright
The recent gun violence in Atlanta and Denver has reignited much needed discussions about how to prevent these all too common tragedies in America. Today, many of our major cities see these types of mass shooting regularly. And yet, they have become so common as to no longer attract national attention beyond a few judgments about mayors who can’t control their cities.
The discussion about gun rights and mass murder focuses on the Second Amendment, but the Bill of Rights guarantees protections for all of us. Equally important is the Ninth Amendment which defines the rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Do we actually possess these rights? One’s right to life should far exceed one’s right to own a gun. When gun rights take human life, we must find balance.
We are robbed of our “pursuit of happiness” when we can no longer feel safe in our communities. My children are teachers in schools and one is a hospital professional. Yet, my right to the pride and happiness of raising these accomplished women is limited by the fear they will see gun violence in the workplace. My grandchildren’s happiness is diminished by the fear of active shooter drills. Do we actually possess freedom and liberty when we cannot send our children to school and expect them to return alive? Or when we go to the movie theatre, grocery store or concert, do we feel safe? Do we feel safe even in our own homes and yards?
We are robbed of our freedoms when unrestricted gun possession is viewed as far less important than common sense gun safety regulations and laws. And yet, as much as we seek to enact gun-safety and gun-control legislation, we find ourselves stymied from doing so by the NRA and the politicians it owns. As Democrats, we must care just as much to fight equally for our right to life and for well-executed laws that can reduce gun violence while protecting our Constitutional rights.
The time has come for us to act.