Team Diva will be there, as always. Although there is great excitement about seeing our Coldwell Banker cohorts and networking with new friends, we travel to Vegas with heavy hearts. We commend our Coldwell Banker cohorts for addressing the situation and making adjustments to protect its attendees. With this in mind, Team Diva feels strongly that part of Standing with Vegas is Taking a Stand Against Gun Massacres in our country. The following is the opinion of Team Diva and not of Coldwell Banker or our mothership Coldwell Banker Bain. If you have a problem with our opinion than we welcome a factual way to handle gun massacres
The following is the opinion of Team Diva and not of Coldwell Banker or our mothership Coldwell Banker Bain. And unlike most people we will be doing something with our opinion – Taking a Stand!
Team Diva and Divaland Needs to Take a Stand
The horrific attack in Las Vegas last week was one of the deadliest we’ve seen in U.S. history. It’s the sort of attack that would be unthinkable in any other western countries but has become increasingly commonplace in the U.S. thanks to our insanely lax gun control laws. We can say “now is not the time” to discuss gun policy. We can tweet #thoughtsandprayers to show our caring. We can blindly accept that “guns don’t kill people, people do.” Or we can say NO to the NRA and take a stand to prevent more brutal attacks like this one.
In the week since the Las Vegas attack, the Republican administration has continued working to dismantle legal protections for women, minorities and the environment. Keeping the debate about gun control legislation quiet. And yet, the horror of the Las Vegas attack is still on our minds. And it will certainly be on the minds of Coldwell Banker and most of the folks attending the GenBlue conference in Vegas next week.
In light of these brutal attacks, we ask ourselves, when is the “right time” to talk about gun control? We say NOW!
NOW is the time to Stop Gun Massacres
A lot of Americans already agree that we need stricter gun laws in this country. According to a poll released this week:
64 percent of voters support stricter gun laws…including 41 percent who strongly support them. Less than 3-in-10 voters, 29 percent, oppose stricter gun laws, including 16 percent in strong opposition.
There is a small, immovable opposition, but they are not your average gun owners. These are extremists who believe in their own militia and their “right” to carry a semi-automatic weapon into a Starbucks to buy their Venti Caramel Frappuccino. (In their minds, you never know when another, angrier dude with an AK-47 might be in the same Starbucks as you. And then you’ll need to dole out some good ol’ vigilante justice.)
These people are loud, but they are outliers.
Another interesting result of the poll: 55 percent of gun owners actually support new restrictions. The results between support/oppose are almost split down the middle, even among Republicans and Trump supporters. If Congress followed the will of the people, they would act, but it is clear that many are beholden to the NRA.
That’s where we all come in.
Put Pressure On Your Elected Officials Nationally
The same poll acknowledges that most people don’t think that Congress will strengthen federal firearm laws, even after Las Vegas. Slightly more say it’s more important to protect Americans’ right to own guns than it is to limit gun ownership. But owning a gun and owning an arsenal are vastly different things. When you ask about specific policies, the majority of Americans want common-sense gun control to prevent gun massacres.
Act Locally to Enact Responsible Gun Ownership
Nevada’s state constitution is much more lenient than the federal laws on fire arms. As a result, a mass murderer can hoard an arsenal. The state of California has fewer gun deaths and has more strict gun laws. Hmmmmm. Methinks that responsible gun regulations is a prevention method that allows the rest of us to live in a free and democratic society.
The fight cannot be won by thinking in general, abstract terms. It will require a slew of targeted policies. Every year, activists are winning small victories over gun lobbies and their paid politicians. These victories add up. Even as individuals, it can be best to pick a few policies, get educated on them, and then demand action.
The good news is that the majority of your fellow Americans want change, too. You don’t have to convince them. You need to convince your representatives.
Here Are Some Specific Policies to Prevent Future Massacres
The bottom line is that some of us grew up around guns. We have fond memories of hunting with our dads. We know that it is possible to own a gun and be responsible, but we also know that the gun industry itself has changed. The laws have not changed with it, and thousands of people are dying because because of it.
Some of us Gays are scared shitless that Alt Right deviants are going to come for us in the middle of the night…and for other minorities, or peaceful protestors, or schoolchildren. The price of freedom should not be that the majority of Americans have to fear the actions of an extreme minority. Here are some of the specific actions to be taken, along with the percentage of support they received in this recent poll:
Ban the use of bump fire stocks (used in the Las Vegas attacks): 79 percent support
Require background checks for all gun sales: 88 percent support
Prevent sales of firearms to people reported as dangerous to law enforcement by a mental-health provider: 87 percent support
Make private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks: 84 percent support
Prevent sales of firearms to people convicted of violent misdemeanors: 83 percent support
Bar gun sales to those on the federal “no fly” or terrorist watch lists: 82 percent support
Require all owners to store their guns in a safe storage unit: 77 percent support
Create a national database for each gun sale: 76 percent support
Require a three-day waiting period for gun purchases: 76 percent support
Ban assault-style weapons: 72 percent support
Ban high-capacity magazines: 72 percent support
Prohibit guns at schools and on college campuses: 69 percent support
Limit ammunition purchases: 69 percent support
How Can You Support Common-Sense Gun Ownership in the U.S.?
There are already quite a few groups lobbying for these kinds of laws and initiatives. Here are a few.
The Brady Campaign has been working for thirty years to counter the NRA’s lobbying in the nation’s capital. Their three-pronged approach litigates against the gun industry, lobbies for new laws, and educates the public about the risks of gun ownership.
Their “Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers” campaign specifically targets unethical gun dealers who use loopholes to sell weapons en masse. According to the Brady Campaign, 90 percent of crime guns are from 5 percent of dealers. Selling to straw purchasers and traffickers. Learn more about The Brady Campaign online and consider donating or volunteering.
The CSGV tackles a number of diverse issues. Demanding universal background checks, supporting suicide prevention, banning assault weapons, and disarming domestic abusers, to name a few. They work on both the state an national level and also organize smaller, consumer-driven protests against media that glamorize guns (and their paid advocates).
Those gun advocates have recently shifted the conversation to mental illness. They say it is the real threat, not too many guns or too few regulations. This is a red herring. The CSGV has highlighted that there is no definitive link between mental illness and violence. Research shows that mental illness alone plays a relatively minor role in the interpersonal violence.
This cynical ploy by gun advocates only stigmatizes those who live with mental illness, the vast majority of whom will never be violent. If anything, it increases the chance of self-harm among those with mental illness. Especially when pro-gun politicians are actively seeking to cut healthcare.
We’re saving one of our favorites for last: Everytown for Gun Safety is a relatively young organization, but what a passionate powerhouse it is! Their site makes it easy to contact your congressional representatives and take other simple actions that can make a huge impact together. That includes their handy event finder. See this map with upcoming events in the greater Seattle area.
With so much tragedy around us, it can be hard to stay focused and driven. While reading about the immediate crises of the California wildfires and ongoing struggles in the Caribbean after Hurricane Maria, responsible gun ownership may seem like something that can wait.
It can’t wait. As a nation, we know this, but many don’t know HOW it can be solved. It won’t be a quick fix, and for some issues, it will be years-long battles. For most of us, it is something that we can help solve even with small actions. Get educated. Find your focus. Keep the pressure on your officials. Let’s Take a Stand, Divaland!