I grew up in Littleton, Colorado, just a few blocks away from Columbine High School. I was fourteen years old when two heavily armed students walked into their school and started shooting innocent classmates. Our quiet community was left overwhelmed with anger, frustration, and sadness. I remember coming downstairs before school the next day, to find my mother, a school teacher, weeping uncontrollably as the news reported the aftermath of the tragedy, and all I could do was cry with her. The feeling of powerlessness was almost unbearable and I know so many families of victims of gun violence are feeling that same sense of powerlessness.
That was 19 years ago and we’ve had over 70 mass shootings since then. Since 1968 more Americans have been killed by gunfire than have died in all of the wars in American history combined.
Despite overwhelming popular support for stricter gun control laws including background checks, a three day waiting period, and a ban on assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines, and other common sense-reforms to help to prevent mass-shootings, Congress has been unwilling to act because of pressure from the powerful special interests.
Since 2010, the National Rifle Association has spent over $120 million to ensure the interest of gun manufacturers are represented over the safety of our families and the will of the people. But Americans all over the country are waking up to the broken system of pay-to-play politics that plagues Congress.
At the CNN town hall on gun policy in America, when a student from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida asked Senator. Marco Rubio if he would pledge to “not accept another donation from the NRA,” the live studio erupted in applause, followed by a standing ovation that lasted over 20 seconds.
We need to amend the U.S. Constitution to end the domination of the big money gun lobby and their influence over our lawmakers.
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If we’re going to end gun violence in America, we need bold solutions that address the root cause of this public health crisis. We need to amend the U.S. Constitution to end the domination of the big money gun lobby and their influence over our lawmakers.
Because of a handful of controversial and misguided 5/4 Supreme Court rulings, corporations like gun manufacturers, are allowed to spend unlimited money to buy access and influence in Congress. As a result, lawmakers pass laws or sometimes block laws from being passed to appease their donors and benefit their bottom-line. This was the case with the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey gun proposal to expand background checks in 2013 after the Sandy Hook massacre. If the gun lobby had not worked so hard to defeat that bill, the Parkland massacre may have been avoided.
The only way to end this type of pay-to-play corruption is to overturn the Supreme Court with a Constitutional amendment. There is already widespread cross-partisan support across the country to do it. 19 states and over 800 cities and towns have passed resolutions with support from Republicans, Democrats, and independents formally calling on Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit the influence of money in politics. In Montana, Colorado, California, and Washington voters have approved similar resolutions through ballot initiatives.
Nearly every generation has amended the Constitution to restore or strengthen our democratic institutions. Now it’s our turn. Ahead of the 2018 midterm election, we plan to ask every single federal candidate to pledge to support the 28th Amendment and end the influence of big money and special interests in campaigns and election. When voters head to the polls on November 6, we want them to know whether or not their next member of Congress will represent ‘We the People’ or corporate special interests.