If Congress won’t act, America must

The Parkland shooting has undoubtedly sparked a revolution. On Wednesday, President Trump proclaimed on live television that he would be in favor of resurrecting gun control legislation opposed by his party and the NRA, stating, “It would be so beautiful to have one bill that everyone could support. It’s time that a president stepped up.”

The president also called for “comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks to weapons purchased at gun shows and on the internet, keeping guns from mentally ill people, securing schools and restricting gun sales for some young adults, and a starting conversation on an assault weapons ban.”

Our government is not solely composed of President Trump, however, and our legislative branch is ferociously pro-gun. Without Congress’ support, the president will not be able to get any bill passed, and it has been made clear that the NRA’s Congress has no intention of backing gun reform.

Although Congressmen work for the people in their districts, it seems as though they oftentimes choose to legislate in favor of the largest donor rather than their constituents. When a government stops listening to its people, reform begins to seem improbable.

But we do not need them. If the people band together with a common goal of ending gun violence in America, we can begin a reformation by ourselves.

As of Thursday, the following businesses have cut ties with the NRA: The First National Bank of Omaha, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent a Car, Hertz, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Paramount RX. These are just a few of the many businesses that have fully severed connection with the NRA, revoking the discounts for members of the association.

The NRA labeled their actions as “a shameful display of political and civic cowardice.” This couldn’t be any further from the truth. With big companies courageously taking a stand against an organization which has dictated the gun conversation for over a century, change becomes plausible.

Following the lead of the companies who left the NRA, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart–two of the nation’s leading gun sellers–took measures to improve gun safety on Wednesday. 

Dick’s Sporting Goods’ chief executive, Edward Stack, has chosen to immediately end all sales of assault weapons and will ban gun sales to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of municipal laws.

“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Mr. Stack said in an interview with The New York Times. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘Enough is enough.’ It got to us.”

Walmart will raise the minimum age for firearm and ammunition purchases to 21.

Imagine what would happen if every gun-selling company was to follow in the footsteps of those listed above. The restrictions that these companies have already placed on their firearms are likely just as effective as the restrictions our government would put in place, should they ever give in to the pressure to act.

By ostracizing the NRA and putting company-enforced restrictions in place sans Congress, we force their hand: they must do more. If the people have already forced baseline gun control, then the legislation Congress must work on will take the work we’ve already done to the next level. And, if they don’t act, we vote them out.

A revolution can only be successful when each and every supporter bands together and refuses to give up until the goal is reached. Let us unite, and with our actions, show Congress that when we say “Never Again,” we mean it.


Published by The Daily Iowan 3/2/18


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