Not that many weeks ago, I called a few of my elected officials to talk about how much I dislike guns. I did not feel like I made that big of a difference, but neither of my representatives was outwardly dismissive.
A few weeks later, one of them even wrote me back.
“Thank you for contacting my office to express your support for gun control legislation. I know that this is an important issue for many of my constituents and I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, the United States suffers more gun violence incidents than any other country. Since 1982, there have been at least 91 public mass shootings across our country. Like you, I am outraged and deeply saddened by the rampant gun violence. The deadly shootings at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and Seattle Pacific University in 2014, the Cascade Mall in Burlington and more recently at Freeman High School are evidence of the need to take action to prevent the tragic cycle of violence in Washington state, and throughout the United States. While there is no one law or set of laws that will prevent every senseless shooting, we must do a better job. I believe that as lawmakers, we have a responsibility to protect our communities from this tragic cycle of gun violence. This year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas was unprecedented in our history in terms of scope, but families across the country know the heartbreak all too well. We must not wait for the next tragedy to act.
I am committed to working to identify common-sense steps that we can take to prevent gun violence and mass shootings while also respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. I support efforts to keep military-style weapons out of the hands of civilians, to remove the statutory ban on researching gun violence as a public health crisis, to strengthen our background check systems, to protect domestic violence and stalking victims from gun violence, and to prevent individuals convicted of hate crimes from accessing firearms. I also support banning, “bump stocks”, which are devices that can be used to transform a semiautomatic weapon into the functional equivalent of an automatic weapon. Please know that I will continue to fight for meaningful reform, and I will work with anyone who is willing to advance legislation for the safety of our children and communities in the House of Representatives.
Again, thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts and concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of any assistance in the future.”
So yes, I received a form letter. I could take umbrage that it was not more personal, but I actually feel the opposite. If she has this note ready to send off at a moment’s notice, then hopefully she has to send it on a regular basis. She acknowledges the concern, states her position, and even attempts to educate the citizens she answers to.
My definition of what the United States of America should be is actually a painting. “Freedom of Speech” is one of the “Four Freedoms” that Norman Rockwell painted. In it, a town hall-type setting is depicted. A person gets up, says what he thinks, and those around him, including his government, listen to what he has to say.
Everyone gets to say their piece (and peace). We respect other opinions and do our best to work things out.
I said my piece. My government listened to it. And it feels like they are taking steps to move forward.
It would ideal if things would get worked out much, much faster. However, I still appreciated the reply.