Letter: Gun violence a leading cause of premature death in US | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Gun violence a leading cause of premature death in US

According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), more than 38,000 people are killed and nearly 85,000 injured each year from gun violence, making this a leading cause of premature death in the US. The APHA is a longtime advocate for a comprehensive public health approach to this crisis, including more federally funded research into gun crime data and the causes of gun violence.

Critics of gun reform invoke the Second Amendment, defend the personal ownership of military-strength weapons, dismiss provisions for background checks, make false claims that stronger measures would take guns away from responsible owners and attribute mass shootings solely to mental illness while opposing expanded government funding of health care. This has obstructed constructive action and endangered the safety of the community.

Thank you to our Colorado legislators for passing two common-sense bills that Gov. Jared Polis has now signed into law, requiring secure storage of firearms and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

The majority of Americans support other reasonable measures, such as criminal background checks and closing loopholes for all gun purchases, reinstating an assault weapons ban and promoting Extreme Risk Protection Orders that identify individuals at risk of harming themselves or others. Also, we can all agree on the need to increase timely access to mental health care. These are steps we must urge our federal lawmakers to act on now.

Please contact Rep. Lauren Boebert, Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. John Hickenlooper, and urge them to support national action on the critical public health issue of gun reform.

Marie Matta

Steamboat Springs

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