“Thoughts and prayers” are not enough. We need gun control now.

firearm-related gun deaths
gun violence in America

Last night in Las Vegas, a lone gunmen rained gunfire down on a country music concert, killing 59 people and wounding 525. In totality it surpasses the carnage of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and has earned the dubious distinction of being the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Republicans in Congress – who have fought for years to block any legislation that would protect Americans from gun violence – were quick to offer their “thoughts and prayers” in response. But thoughts and prayers are not enough to keep weapons of war out of dangerous hands and begin to address our country’s horrific gun violence epidemic.

It is time for Republicans in Congress to join Democrats in standing up to the National Rifle Association and pass commonsense gun control laws that will save American lives.

Stephen Paddock, the suspect in the Las Vegas shooting, reportedly had at least 10 rifles in the hotel room he used as a sniper perch. There’s simply no good reason for a private citizen to have access to that many weapons of war, but it should not come as a surprise.

Nevada has some of the weakest gun control laws in the United States. There are no limits on the number of guns an individual can own, and assault weapons are legal in the state as long as they are registered. The combination of weak state and federal gun laws made last night’s horrific attack possible.

There’s one reason why Congress consistently fails to take real action on gun violence: the National Rifle Association. The NRA has a chokehold on Congress that keeps most bills about gun control from even coming to the floor for a vote. Politicians beholden to – or afraid of – the NRA are willing to turn their backs on their constituents when it comes time to implement reasonable limits and controls on guns. But you can count on them for a “heartbroken” tweet about their “thoughts and prayers” when a tragic shooting makes the national news.

Finally breaking the NRA’s chokehold on Congress will require massive grassroots pressure on our elected officials, demanding that they deliver more than thoughts and prayers in the face of our epidemic of gun violence.