gun meme

 

maybe it isn't impossible.................

Again people are discussing, arguing, fighting, yelling about "mass murder"; in Charleston this time. Will this time be the time we take the discussion further- towards action?

According to a Quinnipiac poll, Republican leaders are at stark odds with the public on the issue of background checks. It found that voters support universal background checks by a margin of 92 to 7 percent; gun owners support the change 92 to 6 percent; and Republicans back the idea 86 to 11 percent. Yet we don't have them. Our leaders don't seem to have the will of the people in mind- perhaps they are more concerned with who donates the most to their campaigns.

Fact checking sources and polls on the internet turn up a plethora of information indicating that the usual dialogue of "back ground checks don't work" or "only criminals will have guns" don't hold up under scrutiny. Connecticut has seen a 40% decrease in gun killngs after enacting background checks. 40%- that's a pretty significant amount. ttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/06/12/gun-killings-fell-by-40-percent-after-connecticut-passed-this-law/. In states that require background checks 46% fewer women are killed by violent partners (http://everytown.org). From Media Matters: Background checks prevented the sale of almost 2 million firearms, largely due to the denial of firearms applications for known criminals and mentally ill applicants. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the FBI and state law enforcement denied firearm purchases to 153,000 people in 2010 alone, the most recent year for which data is available.

We hear from some places that "Now is not a good time" to talk about the reasons why gun violence exceeds that of other comaprable nations. Then we get quiet. We stop posting about it on our social media. We stop seeing it in the media. Then. BAM! Another mass murder and the conversation picks up again. The gun lovers start fighting with the gun haters. The gun haters start insulting the gun lovers and on and on it goes. Perhaps we need to take the haters and the lovers out of the conversation for just a bit (just a bit- they can have input later). If 92% of Americans want background checks maybe the haters and the lovers are speaking too loudly and the majority voice isnt being heard. It's difficult when you are at Thanksgiving dinner and Uncle Bob has a bit too much to drink and starts getting belligerent about how much he loves his guns and 'ain't nobody going to take my guns!'. Mom gives you that 'look', the "please don't argue with Uncle Bob, dear, let's just try to get along" look. Or perhaps there is the vocal gun opponent at your office who thinks ALL guns should be melted down to make a Dove of Peace statue. We all know people of both of these ilks and it's hard to have a rational discussion with people like this. So. Don't. Have the discussion with the majority of people who are somewhere in the middle. Begin a conversation with the people who are willing to compromise. I know gun owners who fully support background checks. I also know people who would rather no one had a gun at all but realize that it isn't fair to impose their view on everyone. Engage the quiet people who understand that we have a big problem with an excess of guns in this country. Encourage them that they can be heard in other ways without having a confromtation with a loud, obnoxious person.

We can write to our elected officials. We can send emails to friends we know that are recpetive to a thoughtful discussion. We can make small donations to organiztations that support sane gun laws, like Gabby Giffords or Richard Martinez's NotOne More group. We can speak with our children and express why we would like to see better enforcement of gun safety. We can ask the parents of our children's friends before they go, "Are their guns in your home? Are they stored safely?" In this way we are letting people around us understand that gun safety is important to us without confronting them.

I thought the aftermath of Columbine was a good time to talk about safe and sane gun laws. I was sure that the time was right after Sandy Hook. I hope that the deaths of these people and others are not in vain. I hope that the recent deaths of 9 people in prayer was 9 people too many. Have we reached our limit? If not now, when? We can be a better nation. We need to at least talk about it. It's possible.

Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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