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December 15, 2013

Column:Year after Newtown, Washington has yet to act on gun violence

One year ago, on Dec. 14, 2012, families across America saw the carnage in Newtown, Conn., broadcast on the nightly news.

Yet one year later, politicians in Washington have failed to protect the American people.

The epidemic of gun violence continues to plague our nation as guns are involved with the murder of 33 Americans each day. Not even a mass shooting this fall in the nation’s capital itself, a shooting only blocks from where politicians work in the halls of Congress, could motivate Washington to act.

Columbine, Blacksburg, Tucson, Aurora, Newtown and the Navy Yard. So reads the list of cities and towns now known by millions for the violence their people suffered and the agony they still endure.

In Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta and Boston we see violence each day, but rarely does it make the front page. The shear amount of gun violence in America has desensitized our society to what that violence means and the people it impacts.

One year after Newtown, we have seen no tangible solutions from Washington. Instead we’ve seen the U.S. Senate reject expanded background checks, reject an assault weapons ban and reject a ban on high-capacity gun magazines.

In 1998, Massachusetts continued its long and proud history of leading America.

We adopted some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, including a ban on assault weapons and a provision banning convicted violent criminals or drug traffickers from carrying or owning a gun.

Since Newtown, several states such as Colorado, Delaware, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut have adopted laws to help reduce gun violence. Elected leaders demonstrated political courage, prioritizing constituent safety over job security.

But nearly two thirds of the more than 100 new gun laws enacted in America this year make it easier to purchase or own a gun.

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