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In our opinion: How Congress can reach a win-win after Dayton, El Paso

Mourners embrace after bringing flowers to a makeshift memorial Tuesday, Aug. 6, for the slain and injured in the Oregon District after a mass shooting that occurred early Sunday morning, in Dayton, Ohio.
Mourners embrace after bringing flowers to a makeshift memorial Tuesday, Aug. 6, for the slain and injured in the Oregon District after a mass shooting that occurred early Sunday morning, in Dayton, Ohio.
John Minchillo, AP

The Deseret News has spent the past few days exposing the cost of the weekend’s events and making the human case for change. One reporter from Dayton, Ohio, wrote how it feels to have a mass shooting come to her home town. Three of the newsroom’s millennials described their feelings of being raised in the so-called “Columbine generation.” And InDepth coverage has shed light on facts surrounding mental health, white supremacy and their connection — perceived or real — to violence.

Now with funeral planning underway around the country, it may seem crass to turn so quickly from a human discussion to a political one, but swift legislative action is a necessary component of keeping Americans safe, and if lawmakers aren’t willing to come together out of a sense of moral obligation, at least they can do so for political gains.

On Monday we gave Congress 21 days to pass meaningful legislation that would help shore up American safety, positing that the answer lies in decisive and tough leadership.

Whatever form the legislation or solution takes, here’s a look at what lawmakers stand to gain by creating a deadline and tangible expectations.

If Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer need a purely political win and reason to take up that challenge, it is this: Democrats can claim that their persistence, focus and commitment broke the logjam in the Capitol and forced meaningful votes and passage of important bills.

If House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell need a purely political win and reason to take up that challenge, it is this: Republicans can show the country they can truly govern and they should be given four more years to do so.

The president can claim he set aside divisive rhetoric, deployed the vice president, made a deal with both parties and united the country to begin solving one of the biggest challenges of our day.

But the real accomplishment would be this: If lawmakers could truly put together a win-win piece of legislation, the ultimate winner would be the American people. Not only would they be safer, they would have some reason to start trusting their government leaders can do the work they were assigned to do.

We started this week by asking whether the tragedies in Ohio and Texas would be one more painful moment or the beginning of an American movement. Both political parties and the president should take up the challenge, ensure this becomes a movement and deliver a win for the American people.