Demand That Congress Ban Assault Weapons

A sign at a vigil for the victims of the shooting in Orlando
A sign calling to ban assault rifles is seen in the crowd during a vigil at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for the victims of a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub (AP Photo: Alex Menendez)

This Sunday marked the worst mass shooting in modern American history. Forty-nine people were killed while celebrating Pride Month and “Latin Night” at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

As expected, politicians offered their usual “thoughts and prayers” but little in the way of concrete action.

In response to the shooting, The Nation’s editors wrote of the 998 mass shootings that have taken place since a gunman killed 26 people in Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012: “But the common denominator in every single one of these incidents—as well as in the more than 10,000 gun deaths that take place in the United States each year—is guns.”

America has about as many guns as people. These are not all hunting rifles; we are awash in military-style assault weapons designed to kill as many people as they can as quickly as possible.

Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama have renewed calls for an assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. Assault weapons have been used in some of our nation’s worst mass shootings—in Orlando, in San Bernardino, California, in Newtown, Connecticut, and in Aurora, Colorado.  

Some politicians have begun to understand the need for action, such as a group of House Democrats who walked out of Congress’s “moment of silence” for the victims and insisted that lawmakers act instead. But too many continue to take their orders from the NRA, which has spent millions of dollars to prevent the passage of any laws that would regulate the use of guns—and potentially save lives.  

Congress can no longer sit on the sidelines while people die. Join The Nation as we call on Congress to ban assault weapons.

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