david byrne writes impassioned essay calling for gun control

"We are at war here," Byrne writes, condemning the N.R.A. and Congress for failing to enact change in light of Sandy Hook and Orlando.

by Hannah Ongley
|
23 June 2016, 9:55am

David Byrne, like most other celebrities worth listening to, most definitely believes in gun control. 10 days after the horrendous shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead and 53 others wounded, the former Talking Heads frontman has written a passionate and poignant essay on his stance. "I firmly believe we can have gun control and reduce gun violence in this country," he begins, citing recent reports of the jarring discrepancy between gun-related deaths in the U.S. vs abroad. "This is not news, but it bears repeating," he continues. "How could you conclude anything other than that we Americans are living in a war zone?" On Monday, all but one Senate Republican (and three Democrats) voted no on requiring background checks on all gun sales. This despite 92 percent of Americans wanting stronger background checks in the wake of Sandy Hook in 2012. 

Byrne argues that guns are a public health issue just like smoking and obesity, and should be treated as such. And "for all the freedoms gun ownership supposedly entails, countless other freedoms have been curtailed — at schools, on university campuses, movie theatres, housing projects, nightclubs, bedrooms, and city streets. Nowhere is safe." He points to the 1996 massacre involving semi-automatic weapons in Australia, which led to the government leading a widespread collection and buyback program, to very positive effect. "Change happens as new views, new thoughts, and new opinions on an old issue accumulate," he reminds us. "We have countered these arguments before, from slavery to seat belts to smoking, and we can do it again. We're better than this."

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Text Hannah Ongley
Image via WikiCommons

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