The Pledge

The Pledge

“Make America Safer.”
Simple enough. Right?
Not for us. We have to complicate things. We have to think about political fundraising. We have to keep the almighty gun lobby in mind. We have to worry about sugar daddies on the Right AND Left who might be offended.
But we stand alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he asks—demands—that all Democratic presidential candidates endorse those three words and his four-point plan to keep Americans safe from gun violence:
• Outlaw assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
• Create a mental health data base to prevent the dangerously mentally ill from purchasing a firearm
• Pass universal background checks closing the private gun sales loophole
• Pass Red Flag legislation preventing individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm
“My heart breaks for the victims of the horrific shooting in El Paso earlier today,” Cuomo said in a statement on Aug. 3. “While President Trump cowardly kowtows to the NRA, the gun violence epidemic is tearing apart our nation and people are dying. Thoughts and prayers will not stop this madness. In New York, we stand up to the NRA. We stand up for the safety of children. We stand up for sanity. It’s past time leaders in Washington did the same. Until they do, these senseless murders will continue.”
“We stand up for sanity.”
Simple enough. Right?
Not for Washington, where it seems that only an act of God will get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to do anything remotely resembling revolutionary gun-safety legislation. He can even copy off of us if he needs to.
Six years ago, following the Sandy Hook school tragedy, New York passed the strongest gun safety laws in the nation. The SAFE Act helps to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and individuals with a mental illness, ensures private gun sales are subject to a background check, bans high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and toughens criminal penalties for illegal gun use.
Since the passage of the SAFE Act, 139,371 reports from mental health professionals have been received by state officials intended to keep weapons away from people with mental illnesses that are likely to “engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to self or others.” These reports—which represent nearly 98,000 people with a potential dangerous mental disposition—are used to notify appropriate local licensing officials who suspend or revoke weapon licenses and prompt local law enforcement officials to remove weapons that are not surrendered.
New York State passed the laws six years ago and they have worked. No legal gun owners’ rights have been violated but unnecessary, dangerous weapons are off the streets and dangerously mentally ill people cannot by guns.
The Empire State is the laboratory. We provided the experiment. Now do it nationwide.
Simple enough. Right?


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