Friday, June 2, is National Gun Violence Awareness Day and I’ll be wearing orange to show my support for stricter gun control laws in the United States.
It’s been 18 years since Columbine, 10 years since Virginia Tech, four years since since Newtown and we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Orlando nightclub shooting. In almost 20 years, our country has made very little progress in enacting laws that would help protect innocent Americans from people who should not have access to firearms. Right now, there are more guns owned by civilians in this country than in any other country in the world. In February of this year, President Trump actually signed a bill revoking a regulation recommended by President Obama that would have added 75,000 names of people with registered mental illnesses to a national background check database. This is crazy!
I work with an incredible organization, Everytown, whose mission is to stand in opposition of the NRA’s vision of more guns for more people. There is such a disconnect between what the country needs to protect our people and the laws that are proposed and enacted. We have imposed restrictions on a number of constitutional rights for the sake of protecting people in this country, including freedom of speech and the right to exercise religious beliefs, so why is the Second Amendment any different? Is it more important to protect the Second Amendment than to protect our own children? Maybe you think so, maybe you don’t—but it’s important for us to at least continue to discuss and debate this openly, and to bring attention to the reality of gun violence and gun control.
I’m not against guns and I’m not against people owning guns. After what happened to me in Paris, I know how important it is to be safe and to have armed security. All of my security team is armed, but they also support stricter gun control laws and believe that we should restrict access to firearms for people with mental illness, anyone previously convicted of a misdemeanor, those who have been subject to a temporary restraining order and those at a higher risk of committing gun violence.
I hope that we won’t become numbed by the increasing number of gun-related tragedies we see on the news. We all have a voice and a right to feel safe, to be protected from people who are a threat, particularly when handed a deadly weapon. I want to help build a safer future for my children and I believe together we can find ways to do that, while still protecting the rights of the American people.