"Common Sense" Gun Legislation

What would that look like?

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. That’s about it. Right now I'm living in that hope, running down its hallway and touching the walls on both sides.”

―Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

On a recent Facebook conversation, a friend of a friend asked, “I see references to common sense gun legislation. What would that look like?” He seemed sincere and genuinely interested in the answer.

In the hope of answering his question, we offer this list. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but we do hope it offers some vision for concrete steps that would move us away from the current cycle of endless violence, trauma, injury and death we are now experiencing on a daily basis.

Most of these are aspirational. In all likelihood, they are not going to be enacted by Congress in the current political situation, and perhaps not for decades to come. Still, the very least we can do is to figure out what we hope for – and then live and work inside that hope.

  • Oppose expanded concealed carry reciprocity legislation, which seeks to turn our houses of worship into congregations armed with guns and weaponry.
  • Establish universal background checks and close the private sale loophole.
  • Repeal the Dickey Amendment and restore funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research on gun violence.
  • Close the Charleston loophole, which permits federally licensed dealers to sell guns if three business days pass without a verdict from the FBI.
  • Ban the purchase and sale of assault weapons.
  • Enact a gun violence restraining order law, which would temporarily prohibit an individual from purchasing or possessing firearms when deemed by a judge to pose a danger to self or others.
  • Ban the purchase and sale of high capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Oppose legislative efforts to deregulate the purchase and sale of gun silencers.
  • Close the boyfriend loophole, which allows convicted abusers and stalkers to buy and own firearms.

This list is for federal legislation.The priorities in your state may be different. This link offers a state-by-state perspective that allows you to compare the strength of state gun laws, track trends over time, and identify gaps in the gun laws of your state. 

If you want to be a part of the effort to act against gun violence, this article offers a good list of organizations where you might want to plug in.

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