As the House Democrats held the floor of the House of Representatives during the sit-in for common sense gun legislation, I remembered the old slogan, "Power to the people." Until the sit-in, it seemed Americans were powerless to do anything about gun violence in this country. The sit-in gave us hope.
Then yesterday I woke up to a disappointment. The House Democrats quit their sit in. I was incensed! How could they? I was ready to watch them sing "We Shall Overcome" for a week as they sacrificed their holiday because the Republicans had the audacity to leave Washington without allowing a vote on common sense gun legislation.
What can the American people do? I thought. I Iooked back over recent current events to see what the American people had done about common sense gun reform in the past. We have done the exact same thing our Congressional representatives have done. Nothing.
Well that’s not quite true. We have complained. We have posted our opinions and memes on Social Media. We have vilified those who oppose gun reform and like our legislators, we have sent our thoughts and prayers to the families of gun violence victims.
What we haven't done are the common sense things that the American public can do. We have not taken the positive actions that might achieve some positive results. The media tells us that 90% of Americans agree that common sense gun control measures are needed. It stands to reason that a part of those 90% are NRA members. How many, like George H.W. Bush, are willing to terminate their NRA membership until the NRA backs down from its irrational views and instead supports the views of the majority of its members?
How many venues are unwilling to rent space to unscrupulous vendors who refuse to do background checks? How many Americans are ready to boycott gun shows that rent to unscrupulous vendors or at least quit buying guns over the Internet and at gun shows unless the vendors they buy from are willing to execute background checks on all potential gun purchasers?
How many Americans have called or written their legislators to pledge their support for common sense gun regulations? How many of us have thanked those who support gun sense and reminded those who don't that they are in a "temp job"?
We have been counting on legislators to change what's wrong with America's gun laws. Real change has always begun with the grass roots of the American public. We can remind our elected officials that they are accountable to we the people who put them in office and promise to hold them accountable for their inaction as well as their actions. If we cannot take a bite out of the crimes that are gun violence, we can take a bite out of the purses of those who profit from guns.