In the last 20 years, we have seen both the frequency and lethality of mass shootings go up. It is painfully apparent the Left and Right have retreated towards maximalist positions, i.e. banning vs no legislation. With widespread political polarization, I am deeply concerned any kind of commonsense legislation is unlikely. When Beto O’Rourke says he wants to take away guns, he’s being serious. Nevertheless, that should not dissuade good law-abiding Americans from seeing we have a massive mental health and moral character problem, combined with access to firearms, the propensity for gun violence death is much higher than similar economically developed countries.
We can do better. Therefore, I have written letters to my various government representatives urging them to consider commonsense gun legislation. The letter is below, citing content from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Dear <Senator/ Governor/ Representative>, I am writing to you today supporting commonsense gun control legislation. First, I would like to provide some background on myself. I am an American Jew with family from Israel. I understand the importance of being able to defend one’s country from both foreign and domestic threats. I strongly believe civilians should be able to own firearms for more than target practice and hunting purposes. I am also cognizant mental health and good moral character raise distinct and unique challenges to what happens when the wrong individual gains access to firearms, sometimes resulting in major loss of life. For this matter alone, I support sound legislation to reduce events we have seen balloon in the last 20 years. A couple of thoughts I recommend considering when discussing with your fellow Republican and Democrat legislators: Red Flag/ Extreme Risk Protection Orders – Many people who pose a high risk of harming themselves or someone else with a firearm can legally possess guns and would pass a background check. State laws often do not provide clear legal mechanism to restrict access to guns before a tragedy occurs, even when it is clear an individual is at risk of causing harm. Comprehensive Background Checks – Background checks are designed to prevent people prohibited from purchasing guns. This is especially troubling related to Intimate Partner Violence and young people with little history to check. While I also support raising the age of gun purchasing to 21, I feel such a change will not block young people from obtaining firearms illegally. Therefore, we need to do more to prosecute illegal gun sales and effectively harden our schools. I am in favor of legislation that redirects COVID and other funding towards hardening/ protecting K-12 schools. Thank you for serving us, our great state, and our country. Kind regards, Guy R. Lipof Austin, TX