Letter: We can learn from others’ successes | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: We can learn from others’ successes

While visiting Australia this past fall, I had several conversations with Australian nationals about gun safety. In their country, most see it as a nonissue as laws were made to address gun safety in 1996 immediately following the mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania.

It is still the third worst recorded worldwide. The guns used were an AR-15 rifle with a 30-shot magazine and a semi-automatic .308 FN rifle.

Twelve days after the massacre, the Australian prime minister announced sweeping gun reforms in a country where firearms had long been considered an essential prop in the national mythology of life in the bush.

Now Australian friends have postponed trips to America because they fear for their safety. They read about USA mass shootings and murders in their media; they are afraid of us and our guns. I can’t blame them. I’m afraid, too.

We can learn from other countries’ successes. We have a big problem, and we can learn from how other countries have managed to not have the massive gun violence that we have.

In 2020, 45,222 people died in the United States from gun-related injuries, more than any other year on record. Every day, at least 321 people are shot across the U.S. In 2018 and 2021, there was a yearly average of 513 mass shootings. While mass shootings are the most publicized events, they are not the primary source of gun violence.

As pointed out in a Jan. 5 letter to the editor from Katie Perkins, gunfire on school grounds has been on the rise, and we’ve virtually done nothing about it. As well, in 2021, more than 1,000 Coloradans died from gun violence.

The leadership in the Colorado legislature has promised to toughen gun laws. With a massive majority, Democratic lawmakers have an opportunity to go further with gun safety. They can follow Australia’s lead.

Now is the time.

Please call or write our Colorado legislators and let them know that you support making Colorado a safer place to live. You can reach Rep. Meghan Lukens at meghan.lukens.house@coleg.gov and Sen. Dylan Roberts at dylan.roberts.senate@coleg.gov.

Nancy Spillane

Oak Creek

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