Carolyn McCarthy: We owe it to gun victims

Newtown Police Officer Maryhelen McCarthy wipes away tears while placing flowers at a makeshift memorial outside of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

(CBS News) Carolyn McCarthy is a suburban New Yorker whose husband was killed and her son wounded in a random shooting on the Long Island Railroad in December 1993. Not long afterward, she ran for Congress, and won. She shares some thoughts now on Friday's tragedy in Newtown, Conn.:

It's hard, in words alone, to do justice for the innocent young children who died the other day.

Words alone aren't enough to make sure that there isn't another shooting like that in Connecticut.

That's why I hope that we as a nation come together and take action to prevent these types of tragedies in the future.

Congress, where I work, can be a pretty divided place. I often like to remind my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, of the things that unite us.

And there are many:

We love our country. We support our Constitution. We love our children. We all care about our future and our children's futures.

And it's on these shared values that I think we must unite, as Americans, to make sure that innocent lives aren't cut down before their time because of the easy access to guns by the wrong people.

As a mother, and as someone whose family was changed forever by an act of gun violence, I know all too well what the families in Connecticut are going through right now.

On Friday, parents went home to presents in the closet that they'll never be able to give.

In some of those homes, there will be no little feet running down the stairs and tearing open boxes under the tree on Christmas Day.

There will be one less Little League tryout, one less high school prom, one less college graduation, one less wedding.

We owe it to those families, and to our own children, to do something about our nation's problem with gun violence.

The Second Amendment is the law of the land - it's an American right to own a gun.

But it's also our responsibility to protect public health and enact reasonable safety restrictions, like we do with cars or food or medicine, because too many of us are dying from gun violence every day.

No parent should have to send their child to school and wonder if there will be a mass shooting there that day.

Let's come together and get this right, for our children's sake.