Caving to the NRA Will Cost Lawmakers Dearly at the Polls

The National Rifle Association's agenda has become wildly out of touch with what Americans want. While 88 percent of voters oppose allowing concealed carry without a permit, according to a survey by Everytown for Gun Safety, the NRA wants to undermine state gun laws in Texas and across the country that govern who is allowed to carry hidden, loaded guns in public. The NRA is trying to undermine Texas concealed carry standards even though, according to an Everytown for Gun Safety poll, 91 percent of Texas voters — including 90 percent of gun owners and 94 percent of current permit holders — support the state's current license to carry permit requirement.While many teachers, parents and students want to keep guns out of our schools, the NRA wants to arm our educators. And they want to make it easy for anyone to buy silencers without a background check.I have three school-aged children and my work as an elementary school librarian now includes active shooter training. I am appalled NRA leaders are still angling to weaken our gun safety protections, dismantle our concealed carry standards, and put our children at even more risk of exposure to gun violence by calling for dangerous proposals like arming our teachers.Amid the inspiring activism from student survivors and activists, and the nationwide March for Our Lives events that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets to protest our nation's tragic gun violence crisis, the contrast between the extreme agenda of the NRA leadership and the will of the American people has never been more stark.If the public reaction to recent events isn't clear enough, polling clearly shows that Americans want gun safety laws. According to a February Quinnipiac poll, 66 percent of American voters support stricter gun laws, the highest level of support the poll has ever measured, including half of gun owners surveyed. But despite a gun homicide rate that is 25 times higher than the average of other high-income countries, the NRA vigorously opposes almost every measure to make our communities safer.Americans are taking action and using our wallets to let corporations and retailers know we won't stand for the NRA's extreme policies. Corporations including Delta Airlines and Hertz have ended their discount programs for NRA members while others like Citibank and Bank of America have placed restrictions on serving corporate clients that make or sell guns. Walmart announced it would no longer sell firearms or ammunition to people under the age of 21, and Dick's Sporting Goods committed to stop selling assault-style rifles, high capacity magazines and bump stocks. These are positive steps, but the true battleground for sensible gun laws is not on the convention floor of the NRA. It is at polling places across the nation, where Americans will decide whether to support those elected representatives bought and paid for by an NRA that is increasingly out of touch with voters' values.With the midterm elections around the corner, Moms Demand Action volunteers like me are harnessing momentum across the country to create real and lasting change on gun safety. Since the shooting in Parkland, states like Florida, Vermont and Maryland have passed stronger gun safety laws to protect their communities. We are prepared to do what it takes to stop the gun lobby's dangerous agenda in Congress. Polling shows that gun violence prevention is the top voting issue among young people who will be eligible to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. That's why I'll be registering young people to vote in the months leading up to our November election.Our elected leaders should consider themselves warned: If members of Congress cave to the NRA, voters will throw them out. Together, the overwhelming majority of Americans who want sensible gun laws will create a future safe from gun violence for all of our children and communities.Kristy Hill is an school librarian and leader of the Fort Worth chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News. What's your view?Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.  Continue reading...

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