Photo Credit: NBC News
Watching the press conference on gun violence given today by the President and Vice President, I was filled with an array of emotions. So badly do I want our country to change, and yet, I recognize the hurdles that we face. Guns are such a polarizing issue, but I hope people can set aside their politics and do what's right to protect our country from violence.
This isn't about taking away the right to own guns if you choose to do so. It's about making this a safer place so that all kids have a chance to grow up and do great things.
Gun violence is, as President Barack Obama said today, an epidemic. What happened at my children's school -- Sandy Hook School -- last month was horrific. Six brave adults and 20 children died when a gunman opened fire in the school. But it wasn't the first or last time that this has happened, sadly.
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook…the list is much bigger than this. But as a mother whose son was huddled across the hall as a beloved teacher and students were killed, I don't want to see it get any longer.
"The only way we can change is if the American people demand it," President Obama said. I agree.
Among the changes that the President talked about were a series of executive actions to strengthen current laws, enhance mental health measures and increase research on gun crime.
He also put forth several legislative proposals that will tackle the strengthening of gun laws:
--requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private sales
--banning "military-style" assault weapons
--limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
--strengthening penalties for gun trafficking
Before we make knee-jerk reactions, let's really look at what's being proposed and make smart decisions on what moves will make our nation safer and protect kids. Let's learn about these proposals and actions with open minds and hearts.
If you agree with what President Obama talked about today, write to your Congresspeople. Call them. Tell them. Make it known that you want this to happen. Don't wait for someone else to tell them -- do it yourself so that they know where their constituents stand.
And if you don't agree -- for whatever reason -- I want you to think deeply not only about why you disagree, but about whether those reasons trump our children's rights to a happy and safe childhood and a terror-free education. And then also think about what changes you would propose instead to that same end. And then talk to your Congresspeople, too.
The only way we can make this country safer is to do so together. Let's make this a productive journey. Let's listen to each other, and remember that this is about so much more than gun ownership. This is about safety, and being the best country in the world. Do we want to be known for our violence or for our beautiful spirit and willingness to what what's necessary to have a peaceful society? "We all know we have a moral obligation to diminish the chance that this could happen again," said Vice President Joe Biden. Right on.
Sarah W. Caron is a writer and mom of two.
Watch the press conference now: