Letter: Facts are facts — doing nothing about gun violence should not be an option
According to Forbes magazine, the Fourth of July “saw the highest number of mass shootings than any other weekend in 2021.” Forbes continued, “At least 150 people across the U.S. were killed by gun violence in more than 400 shootings.”
These recent mass shootings beg us to address this as a public health crisis. On average, almost 120 people die each day in the U.S. from guns. The year 2020 was one of the deadliest years in decades, with nearly 20,000 killed by gun violence. An additional 24,000 (2020) died by suicide with a gun. Crime declined during the pandemic, though gun violence and homicides bucked this trend.
Americans are more united than divided when it comes to guns — they see gun safety as an issue, and they want to see actions to prevent gun violence.
The daily toll of gun deaths and injuries is just as horrifying as our mass shootings and more preventable as a matter of policy. The gun control movement should focus on the deaths and injuries that are most common, rather than be galvanized by mass shootings.
No decent human being, whether gun owner or not, wants to live in a country with our level of shooting deaths.
The numbers don’t lie, and they don’t have an agenda behind them. Facts are just facts. Reducing gun violence in America has become a problem that can’t be fixed with one solution. Doing nothing should not be an option.
To be truly successful in addressing gun violence as a public health crisis, everyone in the community must work together — law enforcement, public officials, schools, behavioral health experts and communities of faith.
Three specific moves could have an enormous impact:
• Vigorously pursue and prosecute gun dealers who contribute to the illegal gun trade.
• Identify opportunities to strengthen the background check system (such as the one signed by Gov. Jared Polis in June).
• Invest in a large-scale education and awareness campaign on the dangers of carrying guns led in partnership with gun rights groups and public health experts that remain free from any judgment about gun ownership or connection with political advocacy.
As cities and local communities have demonstrated, gun violence can be prevented. But we need sustained investments in prevention and the commitment to make it happen on a national scale.
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