My daughter was murdered at her school: We need to elect leaders who support gun safety

·3 min read

“The most important election of our lifetime" was a phrase heard often in 2020. It is a far more accurate statement now.

In 2020, we needed to defeat one person who put democracy at risk. Now, an entire political party and governing philosophy put democracy at risk. Watch, for example, the recent censure hearing of Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., or view the images of members of the Republican Party celebrating when the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict was reached, ignoring the deaths of two men.

Democracy in the United States is under siege, and this well-funded attack has deadly consequences. For me, that means my dream of passing gun safety legislation – a dream I’ve held since my daughter Jaime was murdered at school in Parkland, Florida – is at risk.

We are closer now to passing common-sense gun safety legislation, and yet, at the same time, we are closer to losing any opportunity to do so.

We watched the blatant attack on democracy on Jan. 6. The reality of what happened that day is irrefutable. In spite of the evidence, Fox News, other media outlets and some out-of-touch members of Congress suggest otherwise.

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Republicans also refuse to deal with the devastating reality of gun violence in America.

This week, another American school was the scene of a deadly attack. Four students were shot to death and seven people were injured at Oxford High School in Michigan. A 15-year-old student has been charged with terrorism and murder.

Republicans' rhetoric is dangerous

Despite the plague of gun violence in schools and in our broader society, Republicans in Congress continue to speak in dangerous, irresponsible terms. The recent video released by Rep. Gosar depicting the murder of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, was intentional. Gosar’s video and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s dangerous behavior – including her use of imagery depicting an assault rifle aimed at three Democratic members of Congress – were clearly calculated.

Extremists in the House Republican Conference are ignoring the Constitution and putting our lives at risk.

In this March 24, 2018, file photo, Isabel White of Parkland, Fla., participates in the "March for Our Lives" rally in support of gun control in Washington, D.C.  The march was spearheaded by teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.
In this March 24, 2018, file photo, Isabel White of Parkland, Fla., participates in the "March for Our Lives" rally in support of gun control in Washington, D.C. The march was spearheaded by teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.

While voters are frustrated, now is the time to make sure that we understand what is happening and what is at stake. The best way to defend democracy is to make sure we vote for candidates who support gun safety.

My view on where democracy stands now is not a partisan perspective. It is an American point of view supported by those not afraid to speak out about the risks posed by former President Donald Trump and those who stand for supporting him above all else.

Democrats can pass gun safety legislation

If we are going to protect democracy, and protect our children with meaningful gun safety legislation, we must fully support President Joe Biden. Next year, we must deliver a Democratic majority back to the House and a clear Democratic majority in the Senate.

We must remove this current version of the Republican Party, and hope there are still Republicans who want to find their way to protecting our democratic form of government.

Fred Guttenberg
Fred Guttenberg

Since my daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, our country has made some progress. We elected a president who supports gun safety, a gun safety majority in the House of Representatives and a Democratic-controlled Senate. However, without a commitment to change the rules of the filibuster, a split majority in the Senate is not enough.

We have the ability through our vote in the 2022 election to strengthen democracy or to lose it.

The next election is no longer about what we hope to achieve. The next election is about what we cannot and will not lose.

Fred Guttenberg is a gun violence prevention advocate whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michigan school shooting: Elect leaders who support gun safety

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