Yesterday, we heard from White House press secretary Jay Carney, who announced that President Obama would be supporting Senator Diane Feinstein‘s assault weapons ban. Today, the President upped the ante by calling on Vice President Joe Biden to draft a gun safety action plan, and by calling on parents to get involved in the political fight to push the legislation through Congress.
The President’s haste and determination to get this legislation passed quickly is obvious. One has to assume that Obama wants to capitalize on the raw emotionality of the current political environment. That’s not particularly a bad thing. As parents, we all feel a sense of urgency in making sure that our children are protected.
And more than anything, the children are the tipping point in this horrible tragedy. We have had mass shooting in recent years that inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of calls for stricter gun regulation. From the brutal shootings in Arizona that threatened to take Congresswoman Gabby Giffords‘ life to the heart-wrenching attack on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado by James Holmes. These are just the most high-profile, though there have been many more in the past few years.
The difference in the Sandy Hook shooting, and the reason that I believe it has finally brought about action, is the universality of children in a kindergarten classroom. We all send our kids off to school everyday. Many of us found it harder to do so on Monday morning, watching to clutch on to them and protect them. We simply cannot imagine what it would be like to drop your child off and then never be able to bring them back home. But we know that we want to protect against that type of soul-crushing loss.
The fear of losing our little ones in such a traumatic scenario is the reason that gun control might finally be passed. That fear is why President Obama was right to call on mothers and fathers to demand gun control. We’re all here, waiting for something to do to help keeps our kids safe. We’re feeling powerless and scared. Our President is giving us an outlet to help change our culture and hopefully keep children more safe.
Joe Biden wrote a comprehensive crime bill in the past. Hopefully, he’ll be able to come up with an equally thoughtful and pragmatic approach to addressing gun violence in 2013. But creating that legislation is only a small part of the battle. To actually get it passed, it will takes mothers, fathers, and people all across this country writing letters to their state representatives, making phone calls to the legislature, and just talking with one another about why gun control is so important.
Parents, the President has given us a job to do. Let’s not let him down.