Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
Two items this week. First, New York Democrat Grace Meng is introducing legislation in the House to prevent President Donald Trump from using a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the southern border. Dubbed the “No Walls Act,” the bill would prohibit the construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border if national emergencies are declared during government shutdowns. “It is unconscionable that President Trump is threatening to side-step Congress and declare a fake national emergency in order to build his wall, as funding for the government and more than 800,000 federal workers hangs in the balance,” Meng said. “We must send a clear message to the President that creating this type of manufactured emergency for the sole purpose of securing an unrealistic campaign promise is unacceptable.”
Then there’s HR 8, a fresh push for gun control legislation, being introduced eight years after former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. “Stopping gun violence takes courage: the courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas. Now is the time to come together.”
A bipartisan group in the House sponsored this bill, including five Republican congresspeople, which would require background checks for all gun sales and most gun transfers. Federally licensed gun sellers are required to run background checks, but private sellers do not, giving licensed sellers a competitive disadvantage and creating a loophole for criminals to get guns.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We say enough is enough by finally bringing common-sense, bipartisan background-check legislation to the floor of the House.” Pelosi was joined by gun control advocates and freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), whose son, a black teenager, was fatally shot by a white man in a dispute over loud music in Florida.
Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords, the gun control organization named for the former congresswoman, said, “The folks running at least one of the houses in Congress know that in the face of nearly 40,000 people dying from gun violence each year, that we can no longer sit idly by and let that go on as if it doesn’t matter.”
Any gun control legislation will face a major roadblock in the Republican-led Senate, and the National Rifle Association announced its opposition, calling it “ineffective legislation that doesn’t stop criminals from committing crimes.” Perhaps we should rely on thoughts and prayers for both the border crisis and gun violence. If you have thoughts on preventing Trump from declaring a national emergency over the Mexico wall, or on universal background checks as proposed in HR8, you can contact your Senators and congresspeople.