Statement on Texas Church Massacre

OBERLIN, OH - Let me again express sincere heartbreak and mourning for the victims of the horrific shooting in Texas yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

With that being said, I cannot offer my thoughts and prayers alone. Something can and must be done before more families are massacred in a peaceful Sunday service. Complacency is not an option.

What is most striking to me is that for every other tragedy, when Americans die, we do everything we can to make sure it never happens again. When trains derail, vehicles malfunction, viruses spread, or when a natural disaster tears apart one of our cities, we always ask ourselves: why did this happen, what could we have done differently, and what can we do to prevent disasters like this from happening again? But we are not as critical when it comes to tragedies involving guns. Instead we offer up our condolences and move on with our lives. I understand that gun control is a touchy subject for many and that opinions are polarized. But even with such a divisive issue, we have to be able to find some common ground.

Let’s start with with consensus: 92% of Americans (and 87% of Republicans) believe that there should be background checks for all gun buyers. After the shooting in Las Vegas last month, 82% of Americans support bans on bump stocks. Three-quarters of Americans support creating a national database for gun sales and implementing a three-day waiting period, while a majority of Americans believe in limiting ammunition purchases and the number of gun purchases per month. This is a start. Our leaders must find the moral courage to act on these common beliefs and resist special interests, who impede action at every step.

I have been a gun owner for about ten years, and I have always supported the Second Amendment. But those who try to convince you that this is a binary issue, that you must either be for guns or against them, are seeking to divide us. We can support the Second Amendment while also doing more to protect our families and our neighbors.

Finding the right level of gun regulation will take long and vigorous debate, but debate is what is necessary for democracy to work. The debate must happen and it must happen now. Whatever the conclusion may be, it’s clear that we must find a more appropriate balance between the Second Amendment and public safety, and it is clear that the American people support doing more.

Janet Garrett