America’s Children Live in Fear of Mass Shooters. Will Congress Finally Address Guns?

People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By Jessica Burroughs

January 14, 2021

School children across America have felt the fear that gripped Congress last week. That’s why this NC mom is calling for stronger gun laws. 

As I watched footage of the attacks at the US Capitol last Wednesday, a nagging sense of déjà-vu haunted me. 

The videos of lawmakers hiding under chairs, curled up on the floor shaking with fear. It was simply another version of  images we have seen over and over again of students hiding from active shooters on their school campuses. 

The images on Capitol Hill mixed in my mind with the memory of my son telling me about a lockdown he experienced two years ago at his elementary school.

As I replayed that moment —from getting the principal’s chilling phone call about the active shooter threat l to hearing about his fourth grade class hiding in the bathroom during the lockdown — my shock boiled over into anger. 

I am grateful for the speed and efficiency with which members of Congress were rushed to secure locations on Wednesday. 

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However, I think of our nation’s children who have hidden in their schools with the same primal fear, without their parents. And I think of the many children and teachers in places like Newtown, Conn., Parkland, Fla. and here in North Carolina on UNC-Charlotte’s campus. Places where teachers and students did not make it out of their schools alive and joined an ever growing list of  victims of armed violence. There have been 588 killed in more than 1,640 school shootings since 1970, according to a database kept by researchers at the US Naval Postgraduate School.

Congress Needs to Stand Up to Gun Lobby

Many of the lawmakers who were protected last week have done nothing to protect our nation’s innocent children. In fact, a number of them have voted time and again with the gun lobby to build a guns-everywhere society, The gun lobby has in turn used its money and influence to block  badly-needed gun safety reforms that the vast majority of Americans support. 

One lawmaker speculated about the carnage that could have happened if someone had opened fire in the chamber with an assault rifle. We know all too well what that looks like because we’ve seen it play out repeatedly in our nation’s schools. 

We all deserve to feel safe in our neighborhoods, schools, churches, malls, stores, movie theaters, workplaces, and homes. 

Gun Violence  is an epidemic that is wreaking havoc in our schools and communities. That was on display last week in the Capitol building but it is not inevitable. In fact, this is an epidemic we can address. 

I call on all our elected leaders to stand up to the gun lobby and protect our families.  

I hope that our elected officials, especially the lawmakers who were in the Capitol building last Wednesday, will approach gun safety with a different understanding and a greater sense of urgency now. No one should have to hide in fear for their lives because of armed rampages made more lethal by lax gun laws.


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