Preventing Gun Violence: Tell Your Members of Congress that Their Prayers are Not Enough


Late in the evening of October 1, a shooter opened fire on a crowd gathered for a concert in Las Vegas. This act of terror, inflicted by a single individual, killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 500. We stand in solidarity with, and extend our warmest comfort to, all impacted by this horrific terrorist attack. Donald Trump and all U.S. officials must condemn this violence in the same way they would condemn a shooter of color—and call it what it is: terrorism.

Congress Can Help Prevent the Gun Violence We Just Saw in Las Vegas. 

It is time for Congress to do something to stop this type of gun violence. Tell your Members of Congress (MoCs) that their thoughts and prayers are not enough. By now we’ve all seen the chilling videos on social media, with loud gunfire echoing in the background, causing people to flee for their safety. A survivor of the 2006 Virginia Tech massacre recounts here how the sound of gunfire meant the difference between life or death. Can you imagine the kind of damage that could have been done in Las Vegas if the sound of gunfire was distorted by a silencer? This is exactly what Congress is currently considering.

Congress is considering making it easier for shooters like the one in Vegas. Almost unbelievably, legislation has moved forward in the House of Representatives that would make it easier for people to obtain silencers for guns. As part of a larger legislative package called the SHARE Act (Sportsman Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, or H.R. 3668), Congress is considering the so-called “Hearing Protection Act” (H.R. ) that is backed by the gun lobby and would pave the way for convicted felons, domestic abusers, and others to more easily access silencers.

Silencers have no purpose beyond muffling the sounds of gunshots. This makes it more difficult for people to escape gunfire or to intervene and protect others. There is absolutely no reason for this provision to become law. It has already made it out of committee and could be moved to the floor of the House for a vote at any time.

It’s not nearly enough, but the very least that Congress can do right now to protect against gun violence is to strip the silencer provision out of the SHARE Act. As we mourn the violence in Vegas, call your MoCs right now and tell them that “thoughts and prayers” are not enough. Demand that they oppose the silencer provision.

SAMPLE CALL SCRIPT

Caller: Hello, I’m a constituent from [part of state] calling regarding the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I urge Senator/Representative [name] to not just condemn this act of terror, but to support responsible policies that help prevent these acts of gun violence.

Staffer: Thank you for calling, [MoC] has issued a statement condemning this attack, extending thoughts and prayers, and is listening for more information about the incident.

Caller: I’m glad to hear that, but we also need to see [MoC] taking action to prevent our current gun laws from being gutted. The House will soon consider a provision in the SHARE Act that makes it easy for dangerous people to acquire silencers for their guns. Would [MoC] support removing this provision?

Staffer: We’ll have to take a look at the specific language, but [MoC] is a defender of the constitutional right to bear arms.

Caller: This legislation does not infringe upon that right and removing the silencer provision would simply ensure that current law—that has been in place for decades—remains on the books. Silencers distort the sound of gunfire, making it harder for victims to flee and first responders to intervene. In the wake of the tragedy in Vegas, it is essential for Congress to support removing the silencer provision from the SHARE Act.

Staffer: I’ll certainly relay these concerns to the [MoC].

Caller: Thank you, please do, I will be closely monitoring [his/her] action on this.