Our SLOCDP Executive Committee submitted this statement to the SLO Tribune. It wasn’t published.

Once again. Once again we stand in rage and disbelief after yet another mass shooting, this time in Uvalde, Texas.

Once again we are sickened by an unfathomable act of domestic terror and the massive loss of innocent human life—in this case 19 sweet, innocent children and two teachers.

Once again we must comfort parents and families who now carry that awful burden of the loss of a child.

Once again we see an entire community whose sense of safety has been ripped apart.

Once again we hear the “thoughts and prayers” of those who will be pandering to the NRA at their convention in Houston, just a short distance from Uvalde, later this weekend. Then they’ll say we need to make it easier for people to get guns, and they’ll promise their big campaign donors that they’ll stand in the way of passing any meaningful policies to end the carnage.

This is the 27th school shooting in 2022, a year that has already seen over 200 mass shootings–and it’s only May. In just the past 10 days we’ve witnessed the racist murders of 10 Black people going about their day in their local market in Buffalo, New York, and last week’s tragic shooting in the Taiwanese congregation of a Laguna Woods church. And now this. More children and teachers murdered at school.

Even though a Republican party bought and paid for by the NRA wants us to believe these things just happen, we know our elected officials have the power to stop these atrocities. Democratic legislators have presented legislation that is currently blocked by these NRA fanatics. This violence is not inevitable.

Republicans offer reassurance by pointing out that the killer acted alone. But we know better. We know he did not act alone.

He acted with 50 Republican Senators and at least 1 Democrat who feverishly block all attempts at gun violence prevention. He acted with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who lowered the age for the purchase of handguns to 18 and allowed permitless open carry with no training necessary, while simultaneously pressuring Texans into buying more guns. He acted with the former President and a far right media that spew lies and conspiracies and who use their platforms every day to fuel hatred and advance the sale of weapons of war under the pretense of freedom.

We have seen these same “pro-life” Republicans fighting tooth and nail to prevent even the most common sense gun safety legislation. They praise the second amendment while they argue that healthcare is not a human right. They’re pro-life until someone barges into a classroom and opens fire. Then the profits of the weapons merchants and their liability protections come first.They are pro-life until it suits them.

Most Americans, including most gun owners, favor sensible gun safety measures, but these lawmakers don’t want to end the carnage. It’s not in their political or financial interest to do so. Their craving for power supersedes their concern for our families or ourselves.

What kind of nation are we that must teach our school kids active shooter drills instead of math, science, literature, and arts? What kind of nation are we that even tolerates, let alone normalizes, domestic terror, hatred, and rampant gun violence? What kind of country are we when someone who wants to adopt a dog is screened more vigorously than someone who wants to buy a gun?

The San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party calls on every leader in our County, elected and unelected, to immediately decry both the hateful ideology that motivates so many of these murders and the lax and ineffective laws and regulations that allow such easy access to weapons of war. We call on every leader in our community to denounce these beliefs and all who peddle them – not merely condemning the men (always men, it seems) who pull the trigger but the politicians and media personalities who essentially load their guns and encourage them to fire. We call on the U.S. Senate to immediately pass H.R. 8, Universal Background Checks, and H.R. 350, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, at the very least.

And finally, we call on all voters, here in San Luis Obispo County and across the nation, to demand leaders who will make this a place where liberty and justice apply to us all. We will only see more Uvaldes and more Buffalos until we defeat the gun lobby and throw out of office any lawmakers who work for the NRA or support the gun manufacturers’ lobby. If not, we are all complicit.

Call your Senators: (202) 224-3121