Politico Arena asked this question today about the role of politics and political leaders following the Colorado shooting tragedy Friday. Gun control advocates are calling for a renewed examination of the nation’s firearms laws.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are among the most outspoken on the issue. They wanted to know whether a push for stricter gun laws is appropriate in this time of grief and sorrow.
My heart is so heavy with sorrow for the victims of the Colorado theater shooting that I am almost unable to respond to that question. But respond we must, as individuals and as a nation. And from my own experience with violence toward reproductive health providers, I can tell you that it is of the utmost importance for leaders to respond with solutions, not mere platitudes.
For after we care for our dead and wounded and after we grieve with their families and after all the fine words but no call to action from President Obama and Mitt Romney who wants to be President, then what?
Without question it’s time for stricter gun laws such as this one introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), to ban the sale of magazines that can hold more than ten rounds at a time.
As Senator Dianne Feinstein rightly says “Weapons of war don’t belong on the streets.”
No gun control law can prevent a rampage by a deranged person, or by any person intent on causing harm. But sensible restrictions on access to guns can make such events less likely and less lethal.
It’s shameful to let the NRA browbeat political leaders and the American public into believing we shouldn’t discuss politics at a moment like this. Refusing to tackle the gun control issue—deliberately made controversial by the organization that brooks no restrictions on weapons of mass destruction in civilized society—is pure political cowardice.
I’d love to know how you would have answered the question. Not to argue the merits of gun laws, but rather to address the responsibility of leaders in such a time.
GLORIA FELDT is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, a sought-after speaker and frequent contributor to major news outlets, and the Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead. People has called her “the voice of experience,” and among the many honors she has been given, Vanity Fair called her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers,” and Glamour chose her as a “Woman of the Year.”
As co-founder and president of Take The Lead, a leading women’s leadership nonprofit, her mission is to achieve gender parity by 2025 through innovative training programs, workshops, a groundbreaking 50 Women Can Change The World immersive, online courses, a free weekly newsletter, and events including a monthly Virtual Happy Hour program and a Take The Lead Day symposium that reached over 400,000 women globally in 2017.