Letter: 9 mass shootings
Six people were killed at a birthday gathering in Colorado Springs on Saturday. This mass killing received only about 2 inches of news copy in our local paper. It used to be that this would be front-page news. At least 15 people were killed and 30 more injured in mass shootings since last Friday night through Monday morning.
What is wrong with us? Why are we so numb to killings every single day? No other country tolerates gun violence like the United States.
Gun violence is a public health emergency. Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S. The American Public Health Association recognizes a comprehensive public health approach to addressing this continued crisis is necessary.
The rate of gun-related murders fell sharply in the 10 years after Connecticut implemented a law requiring people buying firearms to have a license. The law is helpful, but it did not solve all the gun safety problems. But why aren’t the rest of the states doing this, too?
Gun violence is a sensitive political issue. Calls for “commonsense gun reforms” — typically more comprehensive background checks for gun purchases — peak after each mass shooting. Gun rights advocates respond that this would infringe on their Second Amendment rights. They believe the focus should be on mental health screenings and interventions. Well, this isn’t being done either; doing nothing (or relatively little) seems to be the theme.
The goal of gun safety is not to disrespect the Second Amendment or to ban guns for legal gun owners any more than the goal of automobile safety is to ban cars. Our goal should be to use a public health approach to make gun use as safe as possible and to keep them out of the hands of the people who legally should not have them.
An approach that makes guns safer, the environment with guns safer and people safer with their guns can save thousands of lives every year. Please contact your legislative representatives (at both the state and federal levels) to do something that actually makes a difference.
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