We've heard the talking heads argue over it. We've seen the polling on it. We've survived all the political spin of it. And that's because we know the real facts about it.
And of course, there's something else to keep in mind. While many politicians and media pundits treat gun violence like just another political football, it's very real to those who have personally experienced its very real carnage. For them, gun violence isn't theoretical. It isn't esoteric. It's quite real, and they're reminded of this painful reality every day.
Erica Lafferty is one of these people. She lost her mother last December. Her mother was a principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. She lost her life that fateful day, but Erica won't let her mother's legacy be forgotten. And she doesn't want others to meet the same fate her mother did.
This is why she showed up at the Grant Sawyer State Building yesterday. Is isn't just about Newtown. This happens at Everytown.
Newtown wasn't the last school shooting, far from it. Right here in Nevada, shots were fired at Sparks Middle School. And 8th grade math teacher Michael Landsberry lost his life that day. The Sparks Middle School Shooting was a horrific reminder that Sparks is @Everytown.
Of course, Las Vegas is also Everytown. On the same day Michael Landsberry lost his life while trying to protect others at Sparks Middle School, Kenneth Brown lost his life while trying to protect others at Ballys Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Also on the same day, two people were shot dead at an apartment complex in East Las Vegas.
This is why Teresa Crawford became a Champion of Change. And this is why showed up at Grant Sawyer yesterday. Far too many people here in Nevada suffered due to gun violence. This doesn't just happen "somewhere else". This happens in Everytown.
This is Everytown. #WeAreEverytown. Throughout Nevada, we've seen people lose their lives to senseless gun violence. But whenever we've had a chance to change this sorrowful reality, all we hear are the same old tired excuses.
We've heard so many speeches from politicians and spin from "industry" promoters over the years that we lost count about a year ago. No matter what Rep. Joe Heck (R-NRA) has said about theoretical legislation and philosophy of process, there's a real bill waiting for his cosponsorship. No matter what Senator Dean Heller (R) says about "legislation he supported recently", he can't hide his filibuster of basic background checks legislation. And no matter what Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NRA) says about theoretical "threats to liberty", he can't spin away the fact that he was what stood in the way of Nevada taking even modest action on gun violence prevention when Congress wouldn't act on federal legislation.
No matter what they and other gun lobby backed politicians say about theories and concepts and philosophy, they can't change reality. Every town has had to grapple with gun violence. Every town knows someone who's lost loved ones to gun violence. And every town deserves a better future without worrying about becoming another headline grabbing armed battlefield.
This is @Everytown. And this is why we can't ignore the reality of gun violence.