Gabby Giffords, the former Democratic representative from Arizona who survived a gunshot wound to the head in 2011, is understandably angry after yet another school shooting left 17 people dead and many more wounded in Florida last week. But in an email to supporters titled “Here’s how we beat the gun lobby,” she explains how voters have the power to hold the gun lobby—and the politicians it backs—accountable:

Speaking is still physically difficult for me, but my feelings are clear: I am furious.

We have watched, time and time again, as people describe these mass shootings as unimaginable and unpreventable acts of evil.

But we all know that is not true.

We have seen them before, and we will see them again. And what angers me most is that Congress knows how to solve this problem.

Bernie Sanders has fought to reduce the epidemic levels of gun violence in this country. And at the end of the day, both of us know that the root of this issue lies in the outrageous amounts of money the corporate gun lobby spends buying candidates and elected officials.

So if we want to change the equation, that means Congress must realize they have more to fear from all of us standing together and acting than they do from the gun lobby’s money. …

For decades now, the gun lobby has used its power and influence to instill fear into the hearts of legislators in Congress and state capitals across our country.

But that fear is nothing like what those students fleeing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School must have felt as they ran out of the building with their hands in the air as officers ran toward them with their guns drawn.

That fear is nothing like what the children and teachers must have felt at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or the club goers felt in Orlando, or the holiday party attendees felt in San Bernardino as shots rang out all around them.

What those legislators who vote to put the profits of manufacturers ahead of the safety of our communities really feel is cowardice.

They look at the most benign and practical solutions offered by moderates from each party and then they look over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby and choose to do nothing.

This November, we are going to vote them out. But it will only happen if we stand together. And that starts with making your voice heard.

Giffords concludes by asking voters to sign the “Vote Courage” pledge, which she created with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

“We do not have to accept these horrific acts of violence as routine, and we must never stop demanding that our leaders not only acknowledge this devastating problem, but take long overdue action to keep our children safe,” Giffords’ email concludes. “If Congress won’t act, the American voters must.”

–Posted by Emma Niles


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