A false divide

 

Dan Baum's recent article would have us believe that gun violence prevention is a deeply divided, polarized issue. It is not. The fringe of the gun-rights movement, who are a small proportion of gun owners, and their deep-pocketed backers in the NRA would like us to believe this narrative, because it foments fear and helps gun sales. In reality, the majority of this country is solidly behind common-sense legislation to reduce our epidemic of gun violence, including making background checks consistent across gun sales and funding research, so far hamstrung by lobbyists, to address gun violence.

Baum's assertion that there is "little evidence" to connect guns and public safety is laughable. Over 30,000 people die in this country from guns each year; more than 9,000 of these deaths are homicides. We lose an average of eight children every day to gun violence in this country. We have more guns and more gun deaths than pretty much any other developed country in the world.

This is not, as the NRA might have you believe, because we have a mental health problem; we are not inherently crazier than other countries. It is because we have a lot of guns combined with an incredibly variable regulatory framework for firearms, and in many states a total lack of common-sense policies and education. We as a society should be doing everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally unstable, and children who do not understand that guns are not toys.

The majority of us who are tired of the numbers of deaths by firearms are not interested in taking guns away from responsible gun owners. What we want is a society that recognizes that guns have the power to take life and that they should be owned and used responsibly.

Deborah Rudnick
Bainbridge Island, Washington

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