We have an obligation to act and prevent tomorrow’s senseless deaths

Like millions of Americans, I watched the news reports from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and was horrified.

There are no words to express my sadness and outrage over the loss of so many young innocent lives.

Politicians have rushed to offer words of sympathy for the victims, but Americans expect more from us.

And they deserve more from this Congress.

Congress has ducked a serious national debate over common-sense gun laws for too long. While there may be nothing we could have done to have stopped this deranged individual from killing and terrorizing so many people, how many more tragedies must we live through before we say enough is enough?

We have an obligation to act and prevent tomorrow’s senseless deaths by coming together and ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.

Gun violence became very personal to me when my friend, Rep. Gabby Giffords, was nearly killed at the hands of a mentally ill gunman while conducting the same type of “Congress at Your Corner” event I have done dozens of times in my career. Six people that day, including 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, had their entire futures taken away from them.

I have seen too many parents’ lives shattered, from Binghamton to Brooklyn.

I will never forget the faces of slain 17-year-old honor student Nyasia Pryear-Yard’s parents, whom I met just weeks after being sworn in to the Senate.

My own two boys are ages 9 and 4, the same ages as many of the children attending Sandy Hook Elementary School when the gunfire rang out.

As a mother, and a lawmaker, I will not allow these tragedies, and the roughly 34 gun violence related deaths that happen every day, to go unanswered. We can no longer sweep the conversation about access to guns under the rug, it is time to demand real solutions.

But in Washington, old and tired political battles have prevented progress. Like far too often in this town, partisans talk past each other, and nothing gets done. The moment someone proposes a solution, it is labeled pro-gun or anti-gun, people run to their respective corners, and nothing is accomplished.

Keeping our children safe from the scourge of gun violence is not a Republican or a Democratic principle; this is an issue for all Americans. There is no political ideology that finds this loss of life acceptable.

The mothers, fathers and reasonable gun owners of America need to take back this conversation.

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