Speakers at the Mayors Against Illegal Guns rally at Island Park in Fargo today called for common-sense, sensible legislation that will reduce the number of gun-related murders in the United States.
They were talking about expanded background checks that would cover sales of all guns.
They were correct. Expanded background checks are a tiny first step that, in conjunction with better mental-health evalulations and reporting, will lead to fewer gun deaths in America.
The most powerful speaker was Carlee Soto, whose sister Victoria was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Victoria was killed by gunman Adam Lanza while protecting her students. Victoria is credited with saving 11 of her students' lives before being killed herself.
"She is a hero," Carlee Soto told a crowd of about three dozen that appeared to be equally divided between pro-background check and anti-background check advocates.
Here is video of Carlee's brief speech:
Soto singled out North Dakota freshman U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for voting against the expanded background check legislation that failed earlier this year.
"Background checks are not a burden. They typically take about 90 seconds to conduct," Soto said. "At what point are our politicians in Washington, including Sen. Heitkamp, going to take meaningful action to stop gun violence?"
There was also a handful of anti-background check advocates at the rally. They held signs blasting New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the billionaire's bus tour.
Hopefully, if more bipartisan legislation to limit gun violence comes to the floor of the Senate, it will garner enough votes to pass. It is a mild, common-sense first step.
(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)