The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is a non-partisan group committed to advocating for research-based policies and practices that support solutions that create safer schools, homes, and communities while preventing senseless gun violence and stop the tragic loss of life. In their “Resolution Supporting Efforts to Prevent Gun Violence,” their list of resolutions includes:

• Rigorous enforcement of existing gun laws                  

• Gun safety training requirements for ownership                 

• No guns in schools except by law enforcement personnel

• Background checks for ALL purchases

• Bans on weapons of mass destruction (AR-15 and AK-47 as examples)

• Threat assessment requirements for citizens who pose a threat to themselves or others

• Elimination of the Dickey Amendment prohibiting the use of Federal dollars for research on gun violence.

They support these data driven conclusions:

1) There is a clear connection between local availability of loaded and unlocked guns and gun-related violence.

2) The rate of firearm related deaths is 10 times higher in the U.S. than other high-income countries and for 15-24-year-olds is 49 times greater

3) The vast majority of mentally ill people are non-violent.

4) Less than 5% of gun-related killings are perpetrated by people with mental illness.

The Republican, NRA-generated talking points about “video games and mental illness pulling the trigger” is a weak adolescent argument. No research supports this claim.

The NASP Resolution ends by stating, “We support the U.S. Constitution and believe effective laws and policies can reduce gun violence without undermining the Second Amendment.”

Americans can hold two truths at the same time: we can support the Second Amendment and support stronger efforts to reduce the number of people killed and injured by guns.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week that found 94% of Americans support requiring background checks on all gun buyers. Among people who live in homes with guns, the figure is 92%.

The Pew Research Center released a survey that showed that Americans have advanced beyond the NRA/Republican zero-sum game, which means whatever is gained by one side is lost by the other. We support common-sense gun safety laws (Gun Sense), while at the same time strongly supporting the Second Amendment.

Over the past decade, Republicans have blocked meaningful reform after Newtown (2012), Las Vegas (2017) and Parkland (2018). There is evidence that state red flag laws, background checks and ownership bans for violent offenders have the greatest effect on gun violence.

So, why have Republicans failed to act?

Republicans have deferred to the NRA for the past decade, so gun rights win.

Republicans do have a quiet plan to address mass shootings: stack the courts with more right-wing judges who will prevent Americans from addressing gun violence. Trump and McConnell are working together to build a judiciary that renders our government permanently powerless to act against the bloodshed.

So, the Republican right-wing courts will uphold a false choice. Americans need to choose between protecting gun rights and supporting gun safety — even though the two go hand in hand.

Meanwhile, the old virus of white nationalism is “fueling the fire” of revenge on immigrants, Jews and Muslims, people of color, homosexuals and any “other.” The new tool for hate is social media.

How can WE turn this tide of mass shootings fueled by a white nationalist cheerleader full of “shouts and smears”?

We can be instructed by Jesus’ “turn the other cheek,” the Buddhist Monk Moon parable and Viktor Hugo’s “Les Misérables.”

In all three parables, the victim did not allow the perpetrator to gain the upper hand. By passive resistance, the victim GIVES the thief much more than they came to expect, thus disarming and flipping the thief into a good citizen. This can work to transform our violent, revengeful society one person at a time. It won’t be easy.

At these Trump rallies, the opposite happens, the rally participants enjoy mastering their fears of the “other.” Rhetoric like “invasion,” “replacement” and “send her back” allows the crowd to act out some form of vigilante justice.

Americans are disgusted by the carnage and will no longer settle for “thoughts and prayers”! “DO SOMETHING!”

Tell obstructionists Trump, McConnell and Bevin to take up America’s gun sense reforms now.

Restore our American values – vote Democrat!

Marshall Ward is a Murray resident who is a member of the Democratic Party. He may be reached at josephmarshallward@gmail.com.

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