Editorial: Tell Trump and Senate to act on sensible gun legislation

People take part in the March For Our Lives rally against gun violence in Washington, DC, on March 24, 2018. - The US Congress convened Monday for the first time since recent mass shootings left Americans distraught over surging violence, but the Senate's Republican leader stressed he would not consider gun legislation without President Donald Trump's backing.

Just like Charlie Brown perennially believing that Lucy will hold the football so he can send it sailing, we hoped to trust President Donald Trump but were let down once again.

He had promised last month, after three mass shootings in a matter of days that killed 31 people, that he would support universal background checks and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be on board. But nine days and one phone call with the head of the NRA later, Trump reversed course.

With Congress back in session this week, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and 11 other governors wrote a letter to the president Tuesday imploring him to work for “common sense” gun legislation.

“Putting an end to gun violence is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” they wrote, “it is an American issue.”

It nearly echoed the president’s own words. “This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat,” Trump said on Aug. 9 after saying: “Frankly, we need intelligent background checks, okay?” Of course, before long he was saying that “People don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now,” perhaps expecting we would forget his earlier words.

We will not forget, background checks are not strong enough, and action is overdue.

“Public safety is the first and most important responsibility of government, and the failure to act to protect the public is a failure in leadership,” Lamont and the governors of California, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington wrote to Trump with necessary urgency.

This year, more than 10,000 people have been shot and killed; 570 of them in just the past two weeks, the governors told Trump. If that many Americans had died in nine months of any other cause, there would be widespread outrage to stop the epidemic.

As it is, the president, McConnell and the Senate Republicans are abdicating their responsibility while a majority of Americans support sensible measures.

Those four measures, as outlined by the governors, are universal background checks to close loopholes, Red Flag laws to prevent people who pose a risk from buying or owning a firearm, stricter reporting requirements to prevent those deemed by a danger by mental health professional from purchasing a firearm, and outlawing assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Connecticut enacted these laws six years ago after the Sandy Hook tragedy, but the states can do just so much. The governors noted that the federal government has the precedents of regulating machine guns in 1934, banning mail order gun sales in 1968, and enacting a 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994.

Make your views known by adding your name to the 16,000-plus already gathered by the Connecticut Against Gun Violence on a letter to McConnell that will be delivered Sept. 25 at the Newtown Action Alliance-organized National Rally in Washington, D.C., to #EndGunViolence.

Make this the year the hope is not yanked away. Hold the president to his promise.

Connecticut Media Group