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KATIE ZERR: Partisan politics has no place in a solution

The ongoing acts of domestic terrorism in recent years has the majority of Americans agreeing that the time is now to find a solution to the problem of gun violence.
The latest barrage of mass shootings in America can be the catalyst to unite us all because no matter our political leanings, we can all agree that ending mass shootings should be a priority.
To stem this violence our leaders must come to the table with an open mind. They must realize their inaction has had a role in the continuing violence.
In finding a solution all factors must be taken into consideration: from mandatory buybacks to federal licensing to ammunition limits. We need to take seriously proposals for universal background checks. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, support for requiring background checks for all gun buyers is at 94 percent overall (98 percent for Democrats, 94 percent Independents, 92 percent Republicans.)
Finding a balance is crucial for any legislation to pass in Congress. The House recently passed H.R.8 – Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, but it was not taken up in the Senate. After the violence in Dayton and El Paso, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal are working together to advance legislation to create a federal grant program that provides funding to states to enact red-flag programs.
The idea of opening a conversation about national red flag legislation has prompted some of those we elected to the South Dakota Legislature to send a letter of opposition to our national leaders urging them not consider such legislation.
According to a release sent to news outlets by Republican Senator Stace Nelson, 26 current and former South Dakota Republican legislators sent letters to President Donald Trump, Senator John Thune, Senator Mike Rounds and Representative Dusty Johnson opposing proposed legislation to provide taxpayer funded grants to encourage states to enact red flag laws similar to those enacted by 17 states.
A red flag law is a gun violence prevention law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. Legislation in states that have passed these laws allows a judge to determine if the order is to be established based on statements and actions made by the gun owner involved. After a set time, the guns are returned to the person from whom they were seized unless another court hearing extends the period of confiscation.
According to the letter, those South Dakota leaders believe the standards of issuing these orders are minimal and more often than not, they are issued without witnesses testifying.
“There has been no evidence that any homicides or suicides have been prevented with these laws and opponents point out that any ‘feel good’ hopes out of such laws, pale in comparison to the constitutional rights abuses law-abiding citizens are being subjected to,” the letter states.
The letter also urges law makers to review legislation that leads to “law-abiding Americans being disarmed by petty bureaucracy and worthless ‘gun-free zones’.”
This is an example of how discussion that could curb the epidemic of gun violence in our nation is halted before it has a chance to be developed. Those roadblocks must not be allowed.
This is far too important to draw lines in the sand. It is time to have bipartisan, open discussion to find a solution to this urgent issue.
Americans should never fear to live a normal life. Our children should not be afraid to stand in line for a movie ticket or sit in the stands at a high school football game. A parent shouldn’t be afraid of going back-to-school shopping at a local store or head downtown to a concert.
The consequences of inaction are far too important to be bogged down in partisan grandstanding.