To the editor:
Friday, June 14 marked the six-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, when a sick young man took the lives of 20 little girls and boys and several of their teachers. We remember when we first heard the news, wanting to rush to our children’s schools and put our arms around them, to put some measure of love back in a world that had just robbed so many parents of their children.
Six months later, we are still sad, but also angry.
Angry that, after this, and after enduring so many years in this country where more than 30,000 people die every year from senseless gun violence, we are no closer to sensible gun policies at the federal or the state level. If gun violence were a disease killing thousands of people a year, you can bet that we would be all over this issue, researching its causes, seeking solutions, implementing effective changes.
And yet, despite this and the fact that about 90 percent of the American public agrees with universal background checks, we can’t get even this basic legislation done at federal or state levels, because the power is not in the hands of democracy; it is in the hands of the lobbyists.
Sensible gun policies should not be about eliminating anyone’s personal right to own firearms. What they should be about is reducing the absolute epidemic of gun violence in this country that is killing our fellow citizens, particularly young people and women (women are more likely to be murdered by guns in America than in any other developed nation). Policies that can help are those that aim to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally unstable people, and limit the egregiously large amounts of ammunition we allow in the name of personal rights at the cost of robbing others of their lives on a daily basis.
Although this is an unfortunately uphill battle, we urge our fellow islanders to continue to make their voices heard: speak to your representatives, they need to hear from you; join local groups including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR); and visit WAGR’s website, www.wagunresponsibility.org, to find out about their new statewide initiative for background checks for which they will begin collecting signatures soon.
We cannot afford not to act to reduce the chances of another 26 or even another single needless, preventable death from gun violence.
SARAH ALBEE, GILLIAN BULL, MARGARET CHANG, DENISE GARCIA, JANI LEVY PAULI, DEB RUDNICK, ERIC SCHMIDT AND NAOMI SPINAK
Bainbridge Island Residents and members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America