Universal Background Checks Bill

tomns.JPGRemember TOMS®? The super cute slip on shoes that would donate a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair of shoes that you purchase? As if this company wasn’t socially conscious enough, TOMS® is now doing even more.

I’m a big advocate for a reform on gun control, hoping that we can live in a world where gun safety is regulated the way automobile safety is. I believe in universal background checks, routine safety regulations, and appropriate training for all guns that are issued. I myself do not want to ever own a gun, as that would make me wildly uncomfortable, but I understand that others may feel differently. On a PERSONAL level, I hate guns. On a REALISTIC level, I just want the proper protocols to be in place.

After all, over 90% of Americans agree on universal background checks.*

Think about all the steps it takes to own a car. You have to study to pass a written test to get your license. Then, after practicing with a licensed adult, you earn your hours and take your driver’s test to get your real license. Then, you update that routinely. You also obtain a vehicle, which is also checked routinely to ensure the safety of you and those around you. While on the road, you obey the laws of the road, and you don’t let others drive your car who aren’t legally allowed to do so. If you break the law and get caught, you’ll get fines and penalties against your license, and could even have it taken away if you do not follow legislation. Now, nothing will ever prevent accidents from happening, but think about how much more chaos there would be if we didn’t have these rules and regulations for automobiles in place. Why do we not have the same routines for gun control? Both are man-made objects that accidentally take the lives of innocent people every single day. Why are they not treated the same?

UBGC 4On January 8th, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require universal background checks for all gun sales.* The bill is knows as H.R.8, and is a gigantic step for the gun reform movement. This proves that even in such divided times, we still have the ability to agree on basic human issues, and we can affect change.

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In an effort to help push this action, TOMS® has launched a postcard campaign to streamline a way to contact the representatives. By just providing your information via the TOMS® website, you could help take action on this very important issue. Over 720,000 postcards were hand-delivered to Congress as a result of the TOMS® Brand’s effort to make a difference. One of them, of course, was mine!

And now, we can proudly say that the universal background checks bill has been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives!

UBGC 6I hope that this is a historical first step into ending gun violence in the United States. Next stop: THE SENATE! We still have a long way to go, so please remember to vote this November for the representatives that are helping to make the world a better place.

Thanks for reading!

*All information found on the TOMS® website.
Visit https://www.toms.com/ for more information on how TOMS®
is getting involved, how you can help, or to go shoe shopping.

Dickey Amendment

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know how I feel about gun control.

Without going too deep into the topic as a whole, the lack of research done on gun violence is alarming.

It’s a fact that the U.S. has a much higher rate of gun deaths than the rest of the developed world*. However, there is almost no federal research available on gun violence in America. Many are blaming this on the Dickey Amendment, which was put in place over a decade ago.

The Dickey Amendment prevented the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) from using a spending bill to “advocate or promote gun control.” As a result, the CDC has avoided researching gun violence, aside from some basic data collection.

The National Rifle Association, of course, had pushed for the amendment. This is not surprising: public-health researchers had published studies suggesting that having a gun in the house increased risk of homicide and suicide*, among other things. The NRA argued that this information was politically motivated, even though these were simply published facts – not advocacy.

The Dickey Amendment is part of the reason that there are massive gaps in what we know about gun violence.*

Last month, Congress gave CDC the “okay” to research gun violence, however, almost no movement has been made. It is likely that the CDC will not begin this research until the amendment is repealed.

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CLICK HERE to sign the petition to end the Dickey Amendment. 

Thanks for reading.

Story and inspiration from BuzzFeed News.

The NRA had pushed for the amendment after  
published studies suggested increased risk,
according to The Atlantic.

#NeverAgain

march for our lives

March For Our Lives: a quick recap!

This was amazing to be a part of. Attending the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC truly made me feel like I was a part of history. I feel very strongly about gun reform, and have never been a big fan of guns as a whole, and this experience made me hopeful for change.

A lot of big name celebs showed up to give their support, singing their inspirational songs that the crowd already knew. It was a nice way to get everyone going, and of course was kind of like an awesome free concert within the event. Although the celebrities were far from my favorite part of the day, it was really cool so see some of my faves, including Demi Lovato, JHud, Ariana Grande, Lin Manuel Miranda, Common, and more. And don’t forget my girl Miley, who rocked it in a crew neck sweatshirt and jeans.

I think one of the things that gave me the most hope was seeing the “next generation” show up and project their voice. Martin Luther King’s granddaughter was brought on stage, screaming her support, saying “We are going to be a great generation!” Another 11 year old black girl talked about how her voice makes a difference, and how it won’t be silenced just because of her age, race, or gender.

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Emma Gonzalez, who is famous for her activism in gun reform after the shooting at Parkland High School, stood on the stage for a silent 6 minutes to represent the amount of time that the shooter had fired his gun in her school before abandoning his rifle. After a few minutes of silence, it started to feel like forever, and people started putting up the peace sign in their air with their fingers.

My favorite part was the teacher, Samantha Fuentes, who was a survivor of the Parkland shooting as well. She gave an extremely passionate speech, which included singing “Happy Birthday” to a student who was a victim of the shooting, and would have turned 18 that day. In the beginning of her speech, she got choked up and the live stream cut away for a minute to let her situate herself. When she regained composure, she screamed into the mic, “I just threw up on international television, and it feels great!”

There was also representation from big cities such as Chicago, who had an extremely important message about how this all started. This issue gained traction after the Parkland students combined forces with those who were already fighting against gun violence. A young girl who grew up in Chicago spoke about her brother passing and how she has been running from this fight her entire life. This issue started in the cities and is going to keep spreading and spreading until we do something to stop it.

In between each speaker, there was different promos on the TV screens to highlight the facts and findings behind the emotions of what they were saying. These promos included facts about the NRA, policy change, and Vets for Gun Reform. It’s not just about hearing stories of shootings, but also about the hard facts about what is causing this epidemic within our country. We have to educate ourselves completely to move forward and affect true change.

#Enough #NeverAgain #EnoughisEnough

march me

Take military weapons out of civilian homes. Require universal background checks on all weapons. Raise the age requirement and lengthen the waiting period. Make our schools, our concerts, our night clubs, our movie theaters SAFE again. VOTE.

Thanks for reading!