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    When Is Enough, Enough?

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting

    It was the worst mass shooting in modern history—that’s what we heard last year after the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre.  Just over a year later, with 59 people dead and more than 500 wounded, Las Vegas now has this heartbreaking historical distinction.

    This tragic and unnecessary loss of life is part of an unfortunate pattern where mass shootings have become routine, and the lack of national gun safety laws is to blame. While gun control opponents argue that it’s people who kill people, not guns, shooters choose automatic weapons simply because they can kill as many people as quickly as possible. No one can provide a sufficient reason for why civilians would need an automatic weapon, yet people can spend a small amount of money to convert their semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon. 

    In California, we have some of the nation’s strongest gun control laws. Inspired to act by the shooting in San Bernardino two years ago where 14 people were killed, the California State Legislature enacted a range of gun safety reforms to prohibit and restrict assault-weapon technologies sales in the state. Many of these solutions have been raised nationally in the wake of Las Vegas. While we proudly led, California cannot have comprehensive gun safety laws simply by going it alone.   

    When will other states learn? When will Congress learn? When is enough, enough? 

    More has to be done, and the best way to prevent future mass shootings is at the federal level. After the Las Vegas massacre, Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the vote for the Sportsman Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which would make it easier to purchase gun silencers. He has not, however, ruled out a vote on the bill at a future date. Entertaining a bill that would make mass shootings even more destructive shows a shocking lack of common sense. 

    Fortunately, California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bipartisan bill to ban “bump stocks” and other similar accessories that can convert semi-automatic weapons. While the National Rifle Association has announced that they support the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reviewing regulations on bump stocks, the ATF has previously evaluated them as legal. 

    Gun homicides in the U.S. occur more than 25 times the average of other developed nations. Ninety-three people die from gun violence each day. A review is insufficient for the 12,000 people that die from gun violence each year.  Legislation must be passed to address this deficiency in gun control policy. Call Senator Feinstein’s office (415-393-0707) to vocalize your support of the bill.

    Whether or not Congress will finally pass gun control legislation while thousands of Americans die due to of gun violence remains unknown, but we must hold them accountable. Many of us thought that this lack of gun control wouldn’t persist after Sandy Hook, or San Bernardino, or Orlando—yet here we are. 

    How many more people need to die before action is taken?

    We cannot become numb to mass murder. Having compassion for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting demands more than an offering of condolences. That won’t prevent future tragedies. It’s time to demand more from our national leaders so that we may all live our lives safe from harm. 

    Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, and parts of South San Francisco.