An Open Letter to 2020 Debate Moderators: Make Gun Reform a Priority!

This post was revised and updated on July 29, 2019, following a spree of mass shootings.

Today, we woke up yet again to tragedy. Yesterday afternoon in Gilroy, California, a gunman took the lives of three people and injured 12 more. Our hearts break again. Families mourn again. A community asks itself how this could happen again.

The worst part is that the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting was the end of a spree of shootings.

Beginning late last week, communities from coast to coast were struck by the epidemic of gun violence, and the shock waves continue to ripple across our nation. A man was shot outside a synagogue in Miami. One person was shot and killed and 11 people were injured at a community event in Brooklyn. Eight people were killed and 40 were injured in shootings throughout Chicago this weekend. Four people were killed and two injured in a San Fernando Valley shooting spree.

This kind of gun violence is a uniquely American problem. We can — and must — end this. We cannot repeat the typical process: thoughts and prayers from national leaders, and inaction from Congress. We demand more.

Make no mistake — the gun violence epidemic is on the minds and hearts of Americans. A CBS News/YouGov battleground tracker poll found that 62 percent of Democrats “must hear” a candidates’ gun reform policies before voting for them. On Twitter, #GunControlNow was trending, showing how gun violence impacts nearly every fabric of American life.

The unprecedented discussion around gun violence in the first round of Presidential debates was a step in the right direction. It reflected what voters have called one of the most important issues facing our country today.

But we need more. We need to know what each and every candidate will do to protect us from gun violence.

As round two of the Democratic debates begin tomorrow, Brady is demanding that debate moderators ask candidates about what solutions they’ll bring to solve this epidemic and make our country safe. To date, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have put forward distinct and detailed plans on how they’ll tackle gun safety. But others, like Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren, have said the right things on social media but haven’t gone further.

  1. Every day, on average, 100 people are shot and killed in the United States. If those trends continue, by the time your first 100 days in office are complete, more than 10,000 people across this country will have been killed by gun violence. What actions would you take to address gun violence in the first 100 days of your administration?
  2. Mass shootings shock the American consciousness and dominate our headlines, while everyday gun violence rarely elevates to the national stage. What would you do to protect people who are disproportionately impacted, many of whom live in communities where they aren’t safe to walk down the street? And what specific plans do you have to tackle everyday gun violence, in communities of color, the LGBTQ community, hate crimes, domestic violence, and those who die by suicide?
  3. Leading causes of death in our country, including car crashes and kidney disease, are given substantial attention and funding from the federal government to study and address the causes of the disease and potential cures. Do you consider gun violence to be a public health epidemic on that same scale, and if so, how would you combat the crisis taking a public health approach?
  4. In response to high-profile school shootings over the past few years, including but not limited to the February 14, 2018 shooting in Parkland, FL, there have been a range of proposed policy solutions to address the issue. In Florida, a recently passed bill would authorize arming school teachers in the classroom. Do you believe arming teachers is the correct solution, or do you see other policies as more effective at protecting our students?
  5. There is broad national support for many proposed solutions to our gun violence epidemic, such as universal background checks, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and extreme risk laws, and we know the changes that should be enacted. With most Americans in agreement as to these solutions, why do you feel no progress has been made?

No more thoughts and prayers — we need action. In November 2020, voters will demand it.

We’re uniting Americans from coast to coast, red and blue and every color, to end gun violence.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store