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 58 people and wounded more than 500. Barely one month later, on November 5, more than 20 individuals again died from a mass shooting at a church in Texas.

We continue to stand in solidarity with all impacted by this horrific act of terror. Donald Trump and all U.S. officials must condemn this violence in the same way they condemned the attack in New York City by a person of color—and call it what it is: terrorism.

It is time for Congress to do something to stop this type of gun violence. 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 considering.

Congress is considering making mass shootings easier, not preventing them. The gun lobby’s top priorities enjoy wide support in Congress. 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” that would pave the way for convicted felons, domestic abusers, and others to more easily access silencers.

Additionally, legislation has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 38) and the Senate (S. 446) that would enact “concealed carry reciprocity,” meaning that states that issue permits allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons to recognize such permits from other states.

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 and prevent the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act from becoming law. As we mourn the latest violence in Texas, call your MoCs right now and tell them that “thoughts and prayers” are not enough. Demand that they block the gun lobby’s priorities from becoming policy.

SAMPLE CALL SCRIPT

Caller: Hello, I’m a constituent from [part of state] calling regarding the mass shooting in Texas. 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. Two bills are in danger of moving forward - the SHARE Act and the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. These bills would make it easier for mass shootings to happen, not harder. Would [MoC] commit to opposing these bills?

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: Blocking this legislation would not infringe upon that right and 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. Expanding access to concealed carry would override localities with more restrictive limits from maintaining their current standards. In the wake of the tragedies in Vegas and Texas, it is essential for Congress to support removing the silencer provision from the SHARE Act and oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity 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.