Imagine a county courthouse, in any town. An old, ramshackle building, with no sprinklers, no fire escapes, and no smoke detectors. Now imagine that the county commissioners of this county have decided that every license, every permit, and every other bit of county business; must be handled in person, at that same courthouse. If you want to get married, open a business, pay a parking ticket, or renew your driver’s license, you must go into this courthouse to do so. The people of the county have been complaining for years about having to use the facility, but the commissioners refuse to get the building updated, or replaced.
Now imagine that one day a terrible fire breaks out in the courthouse. The cause could have been anything. It could have been a faulty coffer pot cord, or a spark from the county lawnmower, or even a deranged arsonist. The result is the courthouse burns to the ground and 25 people die in the carnage. Mary and Bob were there to get a marriage license. Ed was trying to pay his property tax bill. Sue, Clarence and Eddie, all worked as clerks in various departments. The loss of life staggers the community.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, the community might consider filing a lawsuit against the coffee pot maker, or the lawn mower manufacturer, or the family of the arsonist; but who they should really sue is the county commissioners who have negligently allowed the dangerous building to continue to be used, despite the pleas from the community to correct the deficiencies in the building. When a dangerous condition existed, and they were empowered and responsible for maintaining the safety of the building, they should be held accountable when their failure to respond in a reasonable and responsible manner.
By the same token, the schools in our country are becoming dangerous places. They are supposed to be safe havens of learning for our children, but we are increasingly seeing examples of how dangerous they have become. Our lawmakers have written laws which require our children to attend school, yet they are refusing to enact laws to make the schools safe places for our children to attend. Filing lawsuits against the gun manufacturers, gun shops, and parents who give their children access to guns; is a step, but it only addresses the problem on a case by case basis. On the other hand, if lawsuits were filed against the legislators who refuse to take reasonable and appropriate action to control the proliferation of guns in this country, we could attack the root of the problem and take the preventative action that those same legislators have thus far failed to take.
It is time we hold accountable every legislator who has been on the NRA payroll. If they have been profiting from the sale of guns, they should be held accountable for the tragedies that occur when those guns are misused. Like the manufacturers and retailers, they have been profiting from the sales of guns and have placed our children in the cross-hairs. Hold them accountable for every child killed or maimed by those who use the inaction of our lawmakers as acquiescence to their killing sprees.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.