Arne Duncan: It's time to change the game on gun violence

A school shooting that wounded two in Indiana this past Friday reminds us yet again of the challenge of keeping children safe from guns. Arne Duncan, who served as Secretary of Education under President Obama, has an opinion about that:

In America today, gun violence has become routine. At our schools, nightclubs, churches and shopping malls, it's become all too common for someone to pull out a gun and kill dozens of people in seconds.

We also know the next part of that routine: our politicians offer condolences and then do nothing to stop the problem. 

If we want REAL change, we are going to have to break from business-as-usual. Our politicians are not listening to the people. So, if we want them to hear us, if we want things to change, we're going to have to speak more loudly, and in greater numbers, than ever before.

Which is why I am proposing families across this country come together and boycott schools for a few days this fall to send a message to Congress that enough is enough. 

A school boycott is not an obvious approach, especially for me. I've spent my life in education, and the last thing I want to do is take away learning time from kids. But we can make up learning time. We can't bring back the victims of gun violence.

What I'm talking about is a few days – enough to show lawmakers how serious we are. Yes, it will be challenging, and inconvenient. But the reality we're living in is intolerable. 

I'm confident that community groups, churches and businesses can lend support. America's parents need to come together to stop the slaughter.

And that includes parents who are responsible gun owners. I respect those rights, and I know you love your country and you love your children just as much as I do. We share those values. We're all Americans.

But our country has lost its way on guns. No other civilized country accepts our level of gun violence. No other civilized country says that the solution to an epidemic of gun violence is more and more guns.

We don't have to accept things as they are. We can come together to speak out on behalf of common sense and gun safety … and to make sure that your elected leaders hear you, a boycott will help do that. 

It's a new approach, maybe a surprising one. But we know that the old ones aren't working. We learned this the hard way following the Sandy Hook tragedy. We followed what we thought was a sensible approach: We commissioned a study, wrote a report, made recommendations, and worked with Congress.

And nothing changed.

It's time to change the game. Our lives are literally depending on it.

      
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Story produced by Aria Shavelson.