Not part of my (ir-)regularly scheduled programming, but too important not to put here.
I live in Washington, DC, where we have no elected representatives. Which means that if you are outraged by current events, it’s a little hard to do the Standard Thing and write to your congresscritter or Senator.
So I’m writing (and calling, and delivering paper in person) to the Senate Majority Leader (Mitch McConnell) and the Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) (yes, the bitterest of ironies …). I’m calling on them as congressional leaders, who ought therefore to take special interest in the concerns of DC residents since we are supposed to be represented by All of Congress.
If this idea appeals to you, but if you want some help getting started, here’s what I’m saying (please feel free to adapt — in fact, I encourage you to do so! But do copy if that’s the only way you’ll get it done.):
Dear Senator McConnell | Congressman Ryan,
As Senate Majority Leader | Speaker of the House of Representatives, you have an extra obligation to me and to other citizens of Washington, DC, because we lack territorially based representation and must therefore depend upon Congress as a whole to respond to our needs and concerns.
I write to urge you to abandon your enslavement to the gun lobby and to act as a true leader in helping to enact the right gun control legislation. We desperately need laws that require background checks on anyone who tries to buy a gun in this country, and that ban sales to dangerous people. Danger comes from many places: from mental illness, from known histories of violence, from terrorist watch lists.
Gun violence in our country has reached epidemic proportions. We should have worked harder to stop it after Sandy Hook. But now, in the wake of the Orlando shooting which represents the second largest terrorist tack ever on American soil, it is beyond time to take action.
I urge you strongly to lead the Senate | House of Representatives in putting strong background checks on gun sales in place across our great nation. These background checks need not impinge on the Second Amendment; instead, they can only help to ensure its appropriate enforcement.
Thank you for your attention.