To the editor:
Gun violence is a national pandemic that must be stopped. Gun violence has nothing to do with Second Amendment rights, video games or mental health. It has to do with the sheer number of firearms in the U.S. and the lack of leadership in our state and national governments to regulate them appropriately.
The statistics are pretty impressive: The U.S. has 4 percent of the world’s population and 44 percent of all civilian-owned guns in the world (over 393 million firearms in the U.S. alone or 1.2 firearms for every man, woman and child). There are now over 36,000 gun-related deaths per year in the U.S.: Two-thirds are suicides and one-third are homicides. Access to a gun increases the suicide rate by 300 percent (most attempts of suicide are non-fatal). The U.S. has 80 percent of all gun deaths worldwide and over 85 percent of all gun deaths of women and children under 14 years old.
What can be done? The first step is commonsense firearm safety legislation that, ironically, the vast majority of Americans support but which our leaders cannot implement due to financial pressure from the gun lobby. New Hampshire has four bills that passed both the House and Senate (HB 109, 514, 564 and 696) that pertain to waiting periods, limiting guns in schools and mandating background checks that are sitting on Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk awaiting his veto in September, and the U.S. Senate filibustered House-passed legislation indefinitely to ensure non-passage.
If you believe that gun violence is a public safety/human rights issue, write to the offices of the governor and Sen. Mitch McConnell. Let them know that the time for thoughts and prayers is over and the time for action is now.