In America this has become an all too familiar routine: mass shootings in a public place that shake our collective consciousness are quickly followed by thoughts and prayers, media attention and calls to action. Then days go by, the news goes by, and nothing changes in Congress.
That ends now. This year is different. Not only have the American people sent to Washington the strongest gun-feel trifecta in history, but the once-feared National Rifle Association is now desperate to stay relevant as its money and power dry up in Washington.
Support for background checks on all arms sales was overwhelmingly high and bipartisan before two deadly mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder rocked our country – 93 percent of Americans support them, including 89 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of gun owners. Indeed voters ranked Background checks on par with job creation and the passage of another Covid-19 aid package when it came to priorities for this new Congress and the Biden administration in the first 100 days.
But the senseless acts of violence that happened at the King Soopers in Boulder and at the Atlanta spas, carried out by two men barely old enough to legally drink, have Americans from all walks of life join in with one voice speak urgently: the time to act is now.
While we learn even more about both shooters, how they built their arsenals, and what fueled their rampage, we know that far too often someone can use our country’s easy access to firearms to make their hatred deadly. A hateful person without a gun cannot commit a mass shooting. Disarming hatred must include strengthening our gun laws and closing loopholes to keep guns from getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
Some critics believe we’ll be repeating the same debate of years past, but this is a different America than it was more than eight years ago when I started Moms Demand Action from my kitchen counter the day after Sandy Hook. Back then, the NRA was a formidable enemy, a cashless Goliath to the humble but bitter David of our volunteers. But with the NRA on the ropes like never before, this is one of the reasons this time, at this moment, this opportunity is different. David will finally win.