Monday, December 16, 2013

Awful Anniversary

The Grape and R. and I had a fantastic, fun-packed winter weekend. We went sledding twice—once at night after bedtime and all Sunday afternoon with friends, we visited the Children's Museum; attended a holiday party, and we attended a Finnish language Christmas service on a snowy Saturday evening. We made cookies, listened to Christmas music, admired our tree, and played with the Grape and Lila the Dog in the snow.

And R. and I took five minutes on Saturday, December 14, to send an email to our Massachusetts representatives, because we were thinking of the families in Newtown, Connecticut who lost their little children to a horrific gun massacre one year ago. Those families don't get to make memories with their kids because the country's lax gun laws allowed a mentally unstable young man to slaughter them, in the sanctuary of their elementary school, with a military style assault weapon.

Since Congress a) never works—the U.S. House worked a whopping four days this December (nice work if you can get it, I suppose), and b) appears hopelessly gridlocked on everything from immigration reform to naming post offices, we believe the best chance for progress on comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation lies with the states. 2013 was a mixed bag for gun violence prevention legislation: many states, perhaps most notably Connecticut, strengthened their laws, while many states, mainly in the Bible Belt, loosed theirs.

We believe it's important that our state representatives keep hearing from concerned parents on this important issue.

In case it's helpful, I'll paste a copy of the letter R. and I sent Saturday below.

It's easy to find your state representatives' contact information. Just Google "look up state rep" and/or "look up state senator" and the name of your state. Every state has a tool where you can enter your address to find the names and contact information for your elected officials.

Dear Sen.Chang-Diaz and Rep. Rushing:

We live in your district, we are the parents of a four-year-old boy who will enter elementary school next year, and we vote.

We are writing to you today, on the anniversary of the horrific gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, to urge you to keep pushing for passage of comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation in Massachusetts.

We support Rep. David Linsky's bill, which would limit magazine sizes, limit the number of gun purchases a person could make in a month, strengthen background checks, increase penalties for gun crimes, and mandate liability insurance for all gun owners, among other important reforms.

We are proud that Massachusetts once led the nation in gun violence prevention legislation, but we are disappointed that our state has fallen behind states like Connecticut this year. We also urge you and your colleagues to look to Connecticut's new legislation as a model.

The gun massacre at Newtown was a wake up call for us as parents. We hadn't given a huge amount of consideration to gun laws in our voting prior to 2012; now a candidate's stance on this issue is a litmus test for us. We are both proud members of Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America

Simply put, we will never again support any candidate for any office, if s/he earns anything other than an F from the NRA.

Thank you for your time and continued leadership on this critical issue.

Happy holidays, and best regards,