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(c) by Mary Griggs

Today, Mother’s Day hit a new low in New Orleans. Nineteen people were shot following a second line parade in the Seventh Ward. As of this writing, there are three suspected shooters who opened fire on a crowd of about 500 celebrating Mother’s Day at Frenchmen and N. Villere Streets. At least two 10 year old children are among the wounded.

This brings my thoughts to gun safety and the failure of our nationally elected representatives to take proactive action to reduce gun violence.

Any conversation about assault weapons was made more difficult by the number of right wing blowhards arguing that Americans need access to an unregulated supply of assault weapons in order to fight the looming insurrectionist war with the government. Many of those who argued against background checks, high powered bullets and/or a ban on large capacity magazines pointed out that the recent mass shooters wouldn’t have been stopped by such efforts and, instead we should focus on mental health registries.

As true as that might be, high profile mass killings aren’t the only times we are losing our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers to gun violence. There are far too many gun deaths in the United States that could have been avoided had we had stronger laws or held gun owners as responsible for their weapons as they are for their automobiles.

Closing background check loopholes and allowing the collection and sharing of gun purchase data could reduce the number of firearm homicides (11,078 per year as per the CDC) in the United States.

Cities with bans on some forms of gun ownership, when surrounded by neighboring states or counties without such restrictions, see little effect to the bans because many of the gangs that terrorize their neighborhoods use straw man purchases to gain their weaponry (a la Fast and Furious and the Mexican gangs).

It is time for a national effort.

Mother’s Day was originally envisioned as a day to celebrate peace. Julia Ward Howe wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to rise against war in her famous Mothers Day Proclamation, in 1870.

She wrote:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm! Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.

Perhaps her words will prove quite prophetic after this day. But we will need to do more than just hear them. We must do something so no other mother’s child dies at the hand of a criminal with a gun.

Working together, across the country, we can make changes in our laws to support responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.