We Have Lost Over a Million and a Half People to Gun Violence
I want to start by saying, protecting people from the epidemic of gun violence is not the same as taking people’s guns. I was advised not to address the issue of gun violence at all, because the powerful gun lobby in our country has shaped and controlled a segment of gun-rights enthusiasts who are vocally confusing the two.
In fact, more than 65% of Americans support common-sense gun legislation. Responsible gun owners understand the importance of legislation that will help curb gun violence.
The 2nd Amendment was beneficial to arming our militias against the British in the 18th Century, but has nothing to do with what will best keep Americans safe in 2019. I point this out as a former corrections officer and a gun owner. Addressing the issue of guns in our country is about having sensible protections for society. This is not too much to expect from our Congress.
The amount of gun violence in our nation is staggering, and we must confront it head on. As of the writing of this in August, 2019, there have been more mass shootings than days of the year. In this year alone, there have been a total of 33,066 gun related incidents. Last year in the 1st District of Georgia, there were 159 gun related incidents; resulting in 12 children under the age of 17 being killed or injured. These incidents resulted in the deaths of more than 50 people. This is a public health crisis and we need to treat it as such.
We can reduce gun violence together by creating a culture of gun safety - funding CDC research, passing sensible gun laws, and collaborating as communities to address the issue. Sensible gun legislation would include:
Universal background checks for all gun sales (which 95% of Americans support).
Required training and on-going refresher training.
Banning accessories for assault style weapons that use the recoil to fire shots in rapid succession and high capacity magazines for civilians.
Keeping guns out of inappropriate areas, like school campuses and establishments serving alcohol.
Take on the NRA and its corrupting effect on Washington.
End the gun show loophole. All gun purchases should be subject to the same standards.
Crack down on “straw purchases” where people buy guns for criminals.
Since there are almost twice as many suicide deaths by guns than homicides (22,000 per year), mental health treatment and the removal of its stigma, as well as suicide prevention programs, are crucial components to reducing gun violence.
While sensible gun legislation greatly reduces gun violence, we must also work within our communities to address the causes of violence, particularly in our underserved urban communities where homicide rates are often 10 times the national average.
By creating mentoring programs, group violence intervention programs, cure violence intervention programs, and hospital-based intervention programs, we can follow the lead of Richmond, California. At one time, Richmond was one of the most violent places in America. Through the passage of strong, sensible gun laws, and collaborating with respected leaders in the community to form and implement violence intervention programs, their gun homicide rate dropped over 75%.
We can do the same across our country. It is beyond time to fix the scourge of gun violence that has gripped our nation. In my lifetime, we have lost over a million and a half people to gun violence. That number is greater than the number of Americans lost in all wars combined. It's time for lawmakers and communities to stand together to end this senseless loss of lives to gun violence.
To learn more, visit: www.gunviolencearchive.org
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We have lost over a million and a half people to gun violence. That number is greater than the number of Americans lost in all wars combined.