BEACON HILL: Pass Common Sense Gun Laws NOW!

I am livid. I was literally shaking with anger on Thursday. And yet again, I am overwhelmed with feelings of despair. Another week – another mass murder in the United States.  Another school massacre: 17 kids murdered. (Yes, murdered. I am done using euphemisms. Call it what it is – Do not avert your eyes – Look at the horror – And change it.) I don’t know how many were injured, or how extensive those injuries. I still can’t wrap my head around this concept – that everyday, Americans around the nation send their kids to school and have NO IDEA if they will return safely at the end of the day. In the latest mass murder, at least 17 families that will never again hear their child laugh; will never be able to say ‘I love you’; will never be able to say ‘I’m sorry’. They will not cook that favorite meal, or watch their child bloom into adulthood. They will not have the arguments that no parent looks forward to – but has anyway.  They will not share the laughter, and the agony of the teenage years. Instead, they have had a part of their heart ripped out:  a hole in their lives that cannot be filled in.2AC03FED-18ED-4F49-A74E-CCC87EB1FFCD

We have each experienced loss, or moments of despair in our lives; we have all suffered in our way – some have suffered greatly, others less so. But in my case, my suffering has not left me without my child. I have not been robbed of the opportunity to share my life with my kids; I see them grow and ‘become’; I feel their pain and their joy.  What a privilege it is to share these moments – especially in this America that I no longer recognize.

There is a war on our children, our neighbors, our friends – and yet we do nothing. We watch and exclaim ‘the horror, the horror’, and still we do nothing. We talk in hushed tones about how sorry we are for the loss that these families have suffered – or maybe we have become numb to the devastation of the shootings. Or maybe we cannot stand to hear the details any longer, so we turn away.

Well #EnoughIsEnough Beacon Hill.

Right now I am wearing my tee shirt with one of Angela Davis’ best known quotes, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” And I can accept this inaction no longer. It’s time for all of us to ‘get off our (collective) asses’ and DEMAND, in no uncertain terms, that our state legislators start passing common sense gun legislation in this session. A study order is NOT good enough. It never was. People are dying. Stop taking money from the NRA and their cronies. It is blood money. It’s time for #WeThePeople to make our state legislators do the right thing. We can lead by example. It’s time to start leading.

So let’s take a hard look at what is happening in Massachusetts. Yes, we have strong gun laws. And yes, they work. But we can do more. And we should do more. There are common sense gun proposals in the legislature right now that our legislators should be passing into law.

I learned from the House Clerk at the State House today that Rep. Linsky’s bill, H3081 –  Exreme Risk Protection Order, was voted out of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and sent to a study. This bill would allow families/medical professionals & therapists/law enforcement to ask a judge to allow removal of guns from a person who could be a danger to themselves or others. The guns are removed for a short time, after which the family has to present evidence to support the claim of dangerousness. The defendant can also present evidence showing s/he is not dangerous. This bill violates no one’s rights: it will save lives – many due to suicide, but it could help prevent  mass shootings as well. Here is the MA ERPO Fact Sheet.

Apparently there is another Extreme Risk Protection Order bill that is still in play, H3610. The bill is in the Joint Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security. That is the bill we should lobby for, even though there are a dearth of sponsors for the bill.  Either way, we must DEMAND passage of an ERPO bill. So if there is enough energy, enough momentum – if WE DEMAND ACTION and continue until we get results – there is a chance the bill will pass. Our actions have to be sustained – not just reactionary.

So what to do?

If your Rep is not a co-sponsor (list of sponsors) call your Rep. Call every week. Ask him/her to talk to leadership about Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, H3610. Ask why s/he doesn’t support the bill. Is there additional information or death statistics that they need to see? Do they think this will never happen here (no one ever thinks it will happen to them)?

Maybe get a list of the murder victims from 2018. Write a name on a blank postcard – maybe a couple of facts. Send 1 a day to a member of the legislature. Don’t turn away. It’s reality. Say their names.

Send emails to the House Judiciary Committee members. Tell them why you are passionate about H3610, how it would save lives. Tell them how unimaginable the loss of your child to gun violence would be. Explain that suicide by firearm is almost always successful. Do your research. Copy your House Representative. Follow up with phone calls.

Get a group of friends together and ask your Rep. to come to the district to hold a meeting, if s/he doesn’t support the bill, or isn’t willing to talk to leadership to get this passed. Tell them in person what you expect. If they have an opponent, remind them of the opponent’s position.

Find a place to stand out with signs to support H3610. Could be a busy corner, a rotary, wherever there is visibility.

Get creative. How can you make the invisible, visible? Flying ribbons – one for each victim; wearing a pin; reaching out to schools to display cards with names; creating a display that is a reminder everyday (a barren tree with name tags).

This is what I’m going to do. Everyday I will send a postcard to every member of the House Judiciary committee & Speaker DeLeo with the name of a shooting victim, and a short bio if I can find it. I’m going to use the cheap, blank, white postcards. I’m going to ask them to get H3081 to the house floor for a vote. Maybe this is not playing nice. That is not my intention. They need to know that everyday they defer action, someone else dies because of firearms. Below are the names, room numbers, & email addresses of the House Judiciary. I am also posting the names of victims – which is hard to find. So I will be updating that as I find more. Feel free to join me in this endeavor.

We can do this. But it will take all of us. Are you game? Please share other ideas for impressing the urgency of this legislation on the State House.

Names of Victims (will be updated with more)
More info about Las Vegas victims: Las Vegas Victims Bio’s (This could be any of us.)
More info about Parkland victims: Parkland Victims Bios

House Members of Public Safety & Homeland Security H3610:

Copy & paste emails:

Harold.Naughton@mahouse.gov, Alan.Silvia@mahouse.gov, Thomas.Walsh@mahouse.gov, Bruce.Ayers@mahouse.gov, James.Dwyer@mahouse.gov, Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov, Paul.Tucker@mahouse.gov, Juana.Matias@mahouse.gov, Chynah.Tyler@mahouse.gov, Bud.Williams@mahouse.gov, David.Vieira@mahouse.gov, David.Muradian@mahouse.gov, Peter.Durant@mahouse.gov

Name of Rep
MA State House
24 Beacon Street, Room XXX
Boston, MA 02133

Rep. Harold Naughton, Room 167
Rep. Alan Silvia, Room 167
Rep. Thomas Walsh, Room 473G
Rep. Bruce Ayers, Room 167
Rep. James Dwyer, Room 254
Rep. Rady Mom, Room 43
Rep. Paul Tucker, Room 136
Rep. Juana Matias, Room 448
Rep. Chynah Tyler, Room 130
Rep. Bud Williams, Room 22
Rep. David Vieira, Room 167
Rep. David Muradian, Room 156
Rep. Peter Durant, Room 33

House Members of the Judiciary Committee, H3081:

Copy & paste emails:

Claire.Cronin@mahouse.gov, James.Cantwell@mahouse.gov, Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov, Carole.Fiola@mahouse.gov, Randy.Hunt@mahouse.gov, Michael.Day@mahouse.gov, Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov, Paul.Tucker@mahouse.gov, Bud.Williams@mahouse.gov, Sheila.Harrington@mahouse.gov, James.Lyons@mahouse.gov

Address:

Name of Rep
MA State House
24 Beacon Street, Room XXX
Boston, MA 02133

Claire Cronin, Room 136
James Cantwell, Room 136
Colleen Garry, Room 238
Carole Fiola, Room 236
Randy Hunt, Room 155
Michael Day, Room 473F
Rady Mom, Room 43
Paul Tucker, Room 136
Bud Williams, Room 22
Sheila Harrington, Room 237
James Lyons, Room 443

 

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