Dan Sidelnick, chair of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee, today released the following statement regarding the latest mass shootings in America:

A fully automatic firearm can attain a rate of fire of up to 14 rounds per second. A semi-automatic firearm can be modified to fire up to ONLY 9 rounds per second.

There is a big difference, however. The fully automatic firearm is a military weapon that is largely prohibited from purchase by U.S consumers; the semiautomatic weapon is the kind used in 2017 in Las Vegas — the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

If there are restrictions imposed by the federal government on the one, wouldn’t it make sense to do the same for the other, which is just as deadly and more suitable for use on the battlefield instead of on the streets of America?

Once again we face the recurring question of guns and their destructive power when used in the hands of unstable and hateful individuals. The bloodshed in Ohio, which followed that in Texas and California by mere days, was the 32nd mass shooting in the U.S. this year alone (as defined
by the U.S. Justice Department). And who can forget the deadly attack last fall at the synagogue in Pittsburgh?

This time we are asking for more action than “thoughts and prayers” for the victims. The time has come for American politicians to step up and meaningfully respond to the will of the majority of the people and stop pandering to the desire for profit and greed from the NRA and gun lobbyists. In a recent poll conducted by the Center for Public Affairs (March 2019) over 60% of Americans believe that gun laws need to be more strict. Over 90% believe that full background checks on the purchase of firearms are reasonable and necessary (Quinnipiac University, June 2017).

Yet, Moscow Mitch (so named because of his refusal to fully acknowledge Russian interference in our elections) doesn’t seem to get it. He declined to bring back the Senate from its summer recess, to address the issue worrying that someone would score political “points”.

He’s apparently giving an inch – promising action on the proposed “Red Flag Law,” which seeks to take guns out of the hands of people who may be a danger to themselves or others.

The Red Flag Law is important, for sure. But there is more that can be done, namely comprehensive background checks on gun purchases, closing the gun-show loophole, limiting magazine size and drastically improving mental health services.

Action doesn’t stop with McConnell or his GOP colleagues in the Senate, including Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). (Toomey apparently supports Red Flag Laws but sees little, if any, difference between assault weapons and “ordinary hunting rifles.”). We ask that our congressional and state representatives: Congressman Dan Mueser, Russ Diamond, Frank Ryan, Sue Helm and Mike Folmer to put aside partisan politics and voice their support for responsible gun legislation in PA as well as supporting existing federal legislation passed in the House and proposed in the Senate to strengthen background checks and ban assault rifles as they were from 1994 – 2004. (The 1993 CNN/USA Today Gallop Poll reported that universal background checks were supported by 77% of the American public.)

The President, himself, has a role beyond signing such vital legislation into law. He has to tone down his divisive rhetoric and become the Commander in Chief, not just for his narrow base of supporters but for all Americans.

Commonsense gun-safety laws are our only hope of ending the scourge of mass shootings in America.

The message to our elected officials that represent the people in Lebanon and in Washington is clear. Do something. No more thoughts and prayers. No more good people on both sides. No more encouraging hate and division. We have the chance to stand up, make a difference and protect the American citizens from this clear and present danger to our lives our children and our loved ones.

Call or write Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541 and demand that he bring H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019
that was passed in the U.S. House to a vote in the Senate.

Call or write Senator Pat Toomey at (202) 224-4254 and ask him to cosponsor S. 42, The Background Check Expansion Act and S. 66, The Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.