Letter: Death by gun violence is a public health crisis | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Death by gun violence is a public health crisis

Gun violence deaths are an epidemic that calls for many responses, from new laws to more research. I believe we can save lives while respecting responsible gun owners’ rights.

Debates about combating gun violence are raging at every level of government. Questions around age limits, more comprehensive background checks, mental health and banning of certain weapons are all top of mind.

Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related homicide rate is 25 times higher. Although it has half the population of the other 22 nations combined, among those 22 nations studied, the U.S. had 82% of gun deaths, 90% of all women killed with guns, 91% of children under 14 and 92% of young people between ages 15 and 24 killed with guns.

What we do know is that gun violence is a public health crisis in our country. Every day, nearly 100 people are killed in the U.S. with guns, largely by suicide, domestic disputes and community violence. Guns are more lethal than most other weapons and are often used impulsively, meaning that individuals in crisis are likely to succeed on their first attempt to harm themselves or others. For this reason, a public health approach must include restricting access to firearms as well as concerted efforts to easy access for mental health care.

Call or write to Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Lauren Bobert. Let them know it’s time we address this with more than prayers and thoughts.

Nancy Spillane

Oak Creek

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