By Abby White
On the second day of school my third grader couldn’t go out for recess. It was a beautiful early fall day. There were no behavioral issues preventing him from going out. He and his entire school were locked in Union Elementary School because a person with a gun had been seen entering a state building down the road.
I applaud the rapid and appropriate response by city police and school officials to put the schools on lock-out, but this experience cast an ominous pall over the start of this school year.
Gun violence is prevalent in our country, and the heinous and random aspect of school shootings sparks intense anxiety. Something is horribly broken in our country. Children—some as young as three- and four-years old–shouldn’t have to do active shooter drills. Parents shouldn’t fear sending their children to school. People shouldn’t fear going to a concert or to a Walmart.
But broken things can be fixed. We can put proven, common sense gun safety measures into place that would prevent these senseless deaths, mass murders, and constant fear.
I was thrilled two years ago when Governor Scott stood up for life-saving, gun safety legislation. I was equally disappointed last year when he vetoed a bill that would have required a 24-hour waiting period before someone could walk out of a store with a gun. 24-hours can make the difference between life and death—especially those who are considering taking their own lives. 24 hours can give people valuable time to reconsider what is all too often an impulsive and devastating act.
There is a lot we can do in Vermont to fix what is broken. We can close the Charleston loophole: the loophole in current law that allows someone to buy a gun even if they haven’t passed a background check yet. We can pass waiting periods to ensure a person has time to cool down and think rationally before possessing a gun, and we can ban assault rifles—the weapon of choice for almost every single school shooter.
majority of Vermonters and Americans want common sense gun reforms. It is the corporate gun lobby and the politicians under their control who are blocking these life-saving measures. It’s time for politicians to listen to the vast majority of Vermonters and Americans, and to stop being beholden to the gun lobby.
Abby White lives in Montpelier, VT with her husband and two children.