By Christine Nero Coughlin and Sandro Galea
As Congress returns from its summer recess, the Democratic Party has prioritized gun control legislation. The Republican-led Senate appears equally resolved that such legislation has no chance of becoming law. It has been over a generation since the federal government has made any meaningful inroads with firearm regulation. The 1994 bipartisanship that passed an assault weapons ban and barred felons from owning guns is but a distant memory.
This divisive political landscape, along with our social media echo chambers, may suggest we are at an impasse when it comes to gun control. We disagree. As a law professor and a public health scholar, we believe that people of goodwill across the political spectrum want to prevent future tragedies and to minimize the human consequences of gun violence. We also believe that a way forward is indeed possible. With 39,000 firearm-related deaths per year, and 87% of Americans considering gun violence to be a health threat, this moment in time provides us a unique opportunity to act.
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