A year ago today, in this newspaper, President Obama called for a new national conversation about guns.
That was a good day for us. But a year later, we see little progress toward the president's bold goal of repairing the gun background-check system. We hope he will restart that conversation by telling us how we can help.
We are 15 survivors and family members of the shooting that claimed so many lives and altered ours forever.
On that beautiful January morning, we arrived at our local Safeway as strangers to each other. We're a diverse group - gun owners, medical-care professionals, a retired military officer, a school counselor, hunters, small-business owners, Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
But we all agree that we must do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
We are resolved to work together to fix our background check system - to protect others from the terrible violence that our community has endured.
Last November, we traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the Fix Gun Checks Act, legislation that would make sure that the records of prohibited gun purchasers are in the gun background-check system, and require a background check for every gun sale. (See www.fixgunchecks.org online.)
We personally met with some of our elected representatives about specific steps to fix the system and help prevent senseless shootings.
We believed we had the president as an ally in that effort. We were encouraged last March when he said, "We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can't escape it."
Some might argue that, because it's an election year, now is not the time to act. And to those people we say: This is a common-sense proposal that the American people overwhelmingly support.
Here in Arizona, which has a long tradition of hunting and deep reverence for freedom and firearms, 83 percent of Arizonans and 75 percent of Arizona gun owners support requiring a background check for every gun sale.
In fact, among our group are several who grew up shooting and who have continued that important tradition by teaching their children and grandchildren responsible gun ownership.
As we wait for our government to act, 34 Americans are murdered with guns every single day - more than 14,000 since Jan. 8, 2011.
We have asked the president to meet with us. We would be honored to help him make the case that background checks can work. The checks take a few minutes. That's a fair price to pay to save a lot of lives.
This guest opinion is signed by Bill Badger, Dr. David Bowman, Nancy Bowman, Carol Dorushka, Kenneth Dorushka, Randy Gardner, Patricia Maisch, Thomas McMahon, Mary C. Reed, Angela Robinson, Faith Salzgeber, Roger Salzgeber, Mavy Stoddard, Doris Tucker and Jim Tucker.