Tomorrow marks the three-year Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting anniversary.
After the tragedy in San Bernardino, I heard a radio announcer say that there are as many mass shootings in America as there are days in the year. Unfortunately, it’s worse than that. There are, in fact, more mass shootings every year in this country than there are days. We’ve said “not one more” so many times it’s lost its meaning.
Today I’ll be walking in orange – the color worn by hunters for safety — to honor the lives lost at Sandy Hook, Umpqua Community College, Reynolds High School, and in countless other acts of gun violence across the country.
These tragedies are based in circumstances like mental illness, anger, ideology, hatred, and desperation. But they all share something in common. Someone who had no business gaining access to a firearm, or possessing ammunition for it, opened fire on innocent people.
This kind of violence doesn’t have to be the norm in Oregon. We can give meaning to the promise of not one more by encouraging responsible gun-ownership rules and enforcing compliance with transfer and safe storage standards. We should require more rigorous background checks. And we should spend more time questioning America’s gun culture and focusing on how we can encourage the next generation to resolve conflict through more peaceful means.