The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

Our nation is once again reeling from the senseless loss of precious lives, this time by an anti-Semitic shooter who used a semi-automatic assault rifle to kill 11 Jewish worshippers celebrating a holy ritual with their loved ones. In addition to the murders, six were wounded, including four police officers, making it one of the deadliest attacks on a Jewish community in the United States.

We cannot say this is “unthinkable” or “hard to imagine” as President Trump remarked in response to the shooting. His failure to condemn the hate-filled men and women who marched in the streets of Charlottesville last year carrying AR-15 assault weapons while shouting anti-Semitic slurs has emboldened perpetrators of hate crimes against Jews, Muslims, people of color, the LGBT community and immigrants.

This level of violence, enabled by easy access to weapons of war, has become the new reality in America. The time has long since passed for our nation to address the terror of gun violence from which no community is safe.

Connecticut knows all too well the heartache and pain of a mass shooting, and we stand with the Squirrel Hill community and the Tree of Life congregation. But we must honor the lives lost with action, not just words, to end the epidemic of gun violence that victimizes all communities, regardless of religion, race or economic status.

More guns is not the answer. The crisis of gun violence in America will not be solved by arming teachers, encouraging civilians to carry firearms in public or “hardening targets” by stationing armed guards in houses of worship, schools, universities, movie theaters, shopping centers and concert venues—just some of the places where mass shootings have taken place. More guns only equals more gun deaths.

What must be done is strengthening the nation’s gun laws to prevent easy access to unlimited numbers of firearms, and to rein in the lethality of guns that have no place in the hands of civilians. We have an opportunity on November 6 to correct past mistakes and change the trajectory of gun violence in the U.S. That opportunity lies in the hands of voters across the nation who can elect candidates who feel as we do, that one more senseless gun death is one too many, and who will replace “thoughts and prayers” with votes for common-sense gun laws.

Vote as if your life depends upon it, because it does.

For Connecticut voters, CAGV candidate grades and endorsements can be found here.