Let’s Show the Gun Lobby the True “Connecticut Effect”

A lobbyist for a Wisconsin gun owners’ association reportedly told supporters at a local NRA meeting that they have a strong upcoming lobbying agenda, but that progress might be delayed due to the “Connecticut effect.” In other words, this lobbyist views revitalized national interest in stronger gun laws as a temporary blip in response to the December 14, 2012 massacre of schoolchildren and teachers in Newtown, Conn.—an inconvenience that will delay but not damage the gun lobby’s efforts.

The Sandy Hook massacre has indeed energized support for stronger gun laws. And those of us who support such legislation have a duty to make sure this energy is not a temporary blip, but the spark for true and lasting change. Statistical analysis suggests that deadly mass shootings, like the one at Sandy Hook, are indeed on the rise. Most mass shootings have involved the very weapons that advocates believe ought to be banned—assault-type weapons and/or high-capacity ammunition clips. And mass shootings are not the only concern. Since December 14, more than 1,700 Americans have died as the result of gun violence.

We owe it to the Sandy Hook victims and to the loved ones of those 1,700 dead Americans to redeem the term “Connecticut effect” from the gun lobby’s crass and calculated use.

Yeah, there’s a “Connecticut effect,” and it is this: Those of us who believe that it is possible to both uphold the Second Amendment and prevent some criminal gun use by passing common-sense gun laws, such as universal background checks and the banning of assault-style weapons and ammunition, will not give up. We will not forget the victims of Sandy Hook (or Aurora or Tucson or Virginia Tech….). We will not forget the thousands of people who have died and will likely die in less sensational but equally deadly shootings on our city streets or in back bedrooms or in domestic disputes gone terribly wrong.

The “Connecticut effect” is the main reason we started the #ItIsEnough coalition—to ensure that the renewed interest in gun legislation is not just a blip but a true harbinger of change, and to commit ourselves to raising issues around gun violence once a month, every month, until legislation is passed.

#ItIsEnough is a Christian social media initiative to keep gun violence and the need for stronger gun laws on the national agenda. Join us.

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.


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