A Message to the NRA

No other developed nation is forced to deal with mass shootings as often as America. And that is not because other nations do not have guns, or because other nations do not have people who struggle with mental illness.

When it comes to the horror of mass shootings, there is one thing America has that our allies around the globe do not — the N.R.A.

The firearms lobby has succeeded in blocking all progress on gun safety. It is time to break their stranglehold on Washington. Join me and tell the N.R.A. to stop obstructing basic, common-sense gun safety reforms.

I know about the N.R.A. from personal experience. When I put forth a bill to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research into the causes of gun violence, the N.R.A. announced its displeasure and exerted its influence over Congress to kill my bill.

But we can’t give up. Earlier this month, I joined my Democratic colleagues in the Senate to unveil a plan to strengthen background checks before someone is allowed to purchase a firearm. This is a sensible measure that 85% of Americans agree with — and one that in 1999 the N.R.A.’s Wayne LaPierre himself called “reasonable”. The N.R.A. of today doesn’t operate with any reason — and we know we’re in for a fight. But we simply can’t wait any longer to act.

Some believed that after Sandy Hook, the N.R.A. would surely change its tune. They said the same thing after Aurora, too. And after the massacre in Charleston.

But after Oregon, Northern Arizona State, and the fatal shooting in Fort Myers, FL just this weekend, it has become plain as day that no event will ever be shocking enough to make the N.R.A. question its dogmatic attachment to firearms.

The N.R.A. is not interested in compromise, and they never have been. There is no middle ground here — either we make N.R.A. stand for “Not Relevant Anymore,” or we continue to allow this small group to impose its will on 300 million men, women, and children.

This stops now. Add your name to mine, and tell the N.R.A. that the time for gun safety reform is now.

Thank you,