Fighting for Our Lives
Gun violence is an issue I have long cared deeply about, even before a dear friend was murdered, almost seven years ago. Since that time, and since Parkland, and Pulse Nightclub, and Boulder and Buffalo, and Uvalde (the list goes on and on), ready access to guns and the number of mass shootings has only increased.
On June 3, the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, along with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action, held an event at Peace and Justice Plaza for Gun Violence Awareness Day. I was slated to make remarks on behalf of the Council that day, before COVID invaded our household. I was sad to miss it, but Council Member Amy Ryan was kind enough to step in for me. Today — concerned, furious, heart-broken and determined — people across the state and the nation joined in the March For Our Lives.
I want to share the remarks I had prepared for that June 3rd event (below), along with links to some local and national organizations leading on this fight. Please get involved in this urgent issue in whatever way you can. And to all those who have shown up and keep showing up, thank you.
We shouldn’t be here.
We shouldn’t have to do this.
We shouldn’t have to gather to read off the names of the towns, the schools, the churches, the grocery stores, the concerts, where gun violence has destroyed lives, and families, and communities.
But every day more than 120 Americans are killed with guns, and an additional 200 are shot and injured.
We are still reeling from the horror of Uvalde, and yet at least 20 more mass shootings have occurred since then.
So we have to be here. And we have to do this. It’s hard to believe that this time could be different but we need it to be different. And we will demand that it be different.
The way forward is clear: we need to elect better leaders, who will pass better laws. Leaders that care more about kids than guns.
Who understand that the solution to ongoing gun violence, is not more guns.
Guns are the leading cause of death for American children and teens. 4.5 million women in the US report having been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner. Every three hours, a young black man dies by gun homicide. 12 veterans each day die by firearm suicide.
No one is left untouched by gun violence.
We need to elect better leaders, who will pass better laws. Those laws will save lives.
90% of Americans favor universal background checks including most gun owners.
When an assault weapon is used in a mass shooting, it results in six times as many people shot than when other guns are used. We used to have an assault weapon ban and can do it again.
The deadliest mass shootings have been committed by people between ages 17 and 20. Limiting firearm access to 21 and up will save lives.
Red flag laws that allow the removal of guns from someone undergoing a mental health crisis or under a domestic violence order will save lives.
Safe storage requirements will keep guns from children and prevent firearm theft, also saving lives.
The majority of the public support these changes. We know what needs to be done. And we can’t stop until it is. We must reject the narrative that this violence and death is inevitable and elect better leaders, who will pass better laws.
It must be different this time. And with the leadership of amazing advocacy groups like North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, and others, progress is already being made. For example, they were able to fight off the General Assembly’s effort to repeal the handgun permit requirement this past year. Change is possible when we show up. When we march. When we write, and when we vote.
We shouldn’t have to do this. But we do.