Guns take young lives from us every day. More than an epidemic, it's becoming a way of life for too many of our children and their families. As a state, Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation for handgun homicides involving children. We must not continue on this path.
When is change going to come? What is it going to take to stop this senseless violence?
It's going to take us raising our voices and using our votes for commonsense gun laws.
We know that legal gun owners are not the problem. Our communities and our children are put at risk when illegal handguns and assault weapons fall into the wrong hands.
At Project H.O.M.E., we know all too well the effect illegal guns have on a neighborhood. Creating more affordable housing and providing job and educational opportunities are nothing if we can't keep our children safe.
Those in favor of saner, more sensible gun laws have supported a requirement to report lost or stolen guns and an increase in penalties for possessing guns with altered or obliterated serial numbers. Each of these initiatives is supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians - including gun owners themselves. Yet state lawmakers have done nothing to pass legislation - our gun laws remain weak and ineffective.
We agree with this week's Supreme Court decision in that it says Americans should have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live. But we also believe that criminals will still have too much access to illegal guns. We want illegal guns off our streets!
At Moms Against Guns, we believe that a powerful voice is one of the most effective weapons against illegal handguns. To that end, Moms Against Guns and CeaseFirePA are officially joining forces in the fight against gun violence.
With our new partnership, Moms Against Guns and CeaseFirePA stand stronger than ever against violence in our communities. We stand with nearly 100 police chiefs and 370 faith leaders who've pledged to reduce and prevent gun violence.
We stand with the nearly 190 Pennsylvania mayors and the 43 municipalities that have taken action to stop illegal gun use. But mostly, we stand with the victims of gun violence, their families and the Pennsylvanians who won't rest until commonsense gun laws are enacted to stop the violence.
LET'S REMIND everyone that this is not about the Second Amendment. Our Founding Fathers didn't write the Second Amendment to empower people who wanted to murder students like Central High's Shakuwrah Muhammad, who was filled with all of the promise and dreams that an 18-year-old should have.
We urge you to take commonsense steps. Know where your candidates for governor stand on this issue and be sure it's high on their priority list. Time is running out.
A change has got to come.
Lynne Honickman, founder of Moms Against Guns, which recently merged with CeaseFirePA, and Sister Mary Scullion, Project H.O.M.E. co-founder, are both on the board of CeaseFirePA.