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Guns Versus No Guns

To the Editor:

This one actually carries across most party lines and it seems no politician or group of politicians either has the political courage or determination to make meaningful changes in how Americans interact with guns. Each and every day there are thousands of people killing each other by guns. Other countries have shown much more chutzpah like Australia after their last mass shooting to immediately go out and collect all the guns in the country. Would this make it safer on the streets? Would this make it so “peace” officers don’t need to go out and think someone is going to shoot them? Would this make it so our Black and brown brothers and sisters don’t need to yell out in agony “hands up don’t shoot?” Would this make it so our children could peacefully go to school without fear of being shot? Would this make it so our school administrators don’t have to practice gun drills?

It almost seems plausible that more guns are on the streets now than ever before. Does it really seem safer if everybody is having a gun? According to Giffords, more than 100 people in America are killed by gunshot every day on average. This equates to 36,000 people each and every year. In 2017, this number was the highest it has ever been increasing at over 15 percent the last few years. What’s more, over 100,000 are injured by guns every year. No surprise here — the states with the weakest gun laws have some of the highest gunshot deaths. What about the recent push in social justice? Black men are 52 percent of all homicide victims although they are only seven percent of the population. Children, you might wonder? Over 1,500 children are killed with guns every year. Abused women? Five times more likely to be killed if the abuser has a firearm with black women twice as likely as white.

Mass shootings? Six of the most deadliest mass shootings have taken place in the last 10 years including 58 people in 2017 in Las Vegas. What does every politician say to this? “We need common sense gun laws.” What is common sense? What is behind that? What if we had courageous gun laws? What if we took guns off the streets? What if we heeded to our national and domestic security as an overriding factor to the changes since 1776 when the constitution was initially being written? What if we realized that having a safe location is one of the most important parts in Mazlov’s hierarchy of need? 

Costs? The costs are astronomical. It is estimated that over $228 billion dollars is spent on gun related violence each year. This is about $700 per American per year.

Now imagine if these recent protests in the streets could demand for an executive order to collect all guns around America within a week? Think how much safer the country might be. What happened in Australia? Do we as Americans have the courage to learn from another country? Do we have the humility to say that other people might possibly do something better than we do? Are we considerate to make a full-fledged effort in trying? In Australia, after a 28 year-old went on a rampage killing about 30 people and injuring another 50, the government coalition came together to form a massive gun reform law called National Firearms Agreement (NFA). This reform allowed for over 650,000 guns to be collected from Australians and compensated for it. Even those with illegal guns were allowed to return the guns with amnesty. It wasn’t perfect — it is estimated that it brought back about 20 percent of all guns in the country. Leaders from Harvard said that the reforms helped provide much more safety. The average homicide rate seven years after the law was down 42 percent.

Many people on both sides of the aisle are upset and dismayed by the blank check writing $1200 or more to average Americans in need of groceries, paying rent, and getting it through this worldwide pandemic. What if this new PPP, one full of hope and increased safety, would allow for nationwide collection of guns with the government paying for them and disposing of them? What if it set the stage as the White House sets a precedent for new reform making our country better, safer, and more prosperous?

Irving Steel
East Lyme, CT

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