John Rosenthal is fed up. He is the founder of Stop Handgun Violence, the organization behind those billboards of gun victims and statistics seen on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston.
“We have a gun violence epidemic by design in America,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal, who is a gun owner himself, says banning all guns is not the answer, but enforcing every state to have universal background checks for all gun sales and banning all assault weapons could drastically reduce tragedies like the one in Newtown, CT.
“Hopefully this will lead to a meaningful ban on assault weapons. Hopefully this will lead to a mandatory simple background check for all gun sales so criminals and the mentally ill an even al-Qaeda who comes to the U.S. to buy guns at U.S. gun shows without ID or background check requirements, can longer do that. It’s simple-- the solutions are simple,” Rosenthal said.
It’s the politics that makes it complicated, and Rosenthal says special interest groups like the NRA control our elected officials, and that voters let them.
“We are responsible for the 20 kids killed in Newtown. We are responsible for the 83 Americans who die every day including 8 kids under 20 years old. This has been going on for decades and congress doesn’t care. And Congress isn’t going to care until we, the voters, the public make congress accountable and protect our children," said Rosenthal.
Massachusetts has one of the most comprehensive gun laws in the United States, including required background checks and a ban on all assault weapons. It also has the lowest firearm fatality rate per capita. But neighboring states like New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine do not have the same restrictions, and that is part of the larger problem, according to Rosenthal.
“It’s time for people to stand up and say enough is enough and follow the lead of Massachusetts. We have the first in the nation consumer protection standards for guns. We require licensing and registration and training before your get a gun. And we ban military-style weapons,” said Rosenthal. “Just simply do what Massachusetts has done and we’re going to reduce the majority of injuries and deaths from guns without banning anything, except for assault weapons and requiring background checks for all gun sales.”