I wrote this letter today and am sending it to my two Senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, as well as President Obama. Their addresses follow the letter below. If you’re so moved, write or email your own Senators and Representatives, and, please, if you agree with me, feel free to copy or crib from my letter. The sources are linked in the text. Click on them for more information. Comments are, as always, welcome; respectful and polite responses are preferred.
On December 15, 2012, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “Children ages 5 to 14 in American are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries.” He described how safety-conscious America has become regarding bicycles, drivers training, seat belts, and car seats–legal measures we neglect to take in regard to guns.
In light of the shootings in Connecticut, I concur with Nicholas Kristof, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and many others, that our nation needs to tighten gun restrictions. American citizens will retain the right to own guns, but sensible background checks and limits on multiple gun purchases and high-capacity magazines must be considered, as well as re-instatement of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004.
The Bushmaster rifle used at Sandy Hook Elementary School left dozens of casings on the classroom floors, and killed 26 people in a matter of minutes, inflicting multiple devastating wounds. It’s a modification of a rifle used by the military and by police. The same rifle was used in sniper attacks in Washington, D.C., in 2002. Why would ordinary citizens need such a gun?
Kristof’s column explained the progress made in Australia over the last two decades. After a horrendous mass shooting in 1996, the nation enacted laws banning certain rapid-fire guns, eventually reducing gun ownership by about one-fifth. Australians still own guns, but in the intervening years, Australia’s gun-related murders and suicides have dropped by 40 and 50 percent, respectively. Since changing the laws, Australia has had no mass shootings.
According to the Children’s Defense Fund, nearly 3000 American children die every year from guns in accidents, suicides, and homicides. That’s about 8 children and teens every day. Americans should be able to come together in respectful discussions about reasonable, fair restrictions that protect everyone, especially children. In a CNN poll, about 60 percent of Americans support bans on the sale of automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.
We will never be able to stop all gun violence, but as President Obama said at Newtown, Connecticut’s Sunday prayer vigil, surely we can do better. Please take action as soon as possible.
|Brown, Sherrod – (D – OH)||Class I|
|713 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510|
|Web Form: www.brown.senate.gov/contact/|
|Portman, Rob – (R – OH)||Class III|
|338 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510|
|Web Form: www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact?p=contact…|
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