As board members and staff at the Center for Nonviolent Solutions, we abhor the mass shootings that have now plagued our country for two decades.
We have a violence problem in the United States and it is exacerbated by guns.
Even a partial list of recent American mass shootings is staggering: Columbine High School, Amish School in Lancaster County, Knoxville UU Church, Charleston EAME Church, Aurora theater, Orlando nightclub, Sandy Hook School, Las Vegas concert and Sutherland Springs Church.
But while mass shooting grab the headlines, most gun violence occurs in our cities daily. And we have become immune to it. We are only shocked and moved to action when the violence escapes the cities and enters the suburbs and rural America. In Chicago, there were 58 gun deaths in only 28 days. That is the number of people killed in Las Vegas in October. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/06/us/las-vegas-gun-deaths.html
The correlation between gun ownership and violent deaths in the United States could not be clearer. We have many times more guns in private hands, and many times more gun deaths, than any other country.
According to a recent analysis by the New York Times (November 7, 2017), in 2013, gun violence from suicides, homicides and accidents resulted in nearly 32,888 deaths. That same year, Japan, with 1/3 of America’s population, had 13 gun deaths. An American is 300 times more likely than a Japanese person to die by gunshot.
The National Rifle Association, as its name implies, began as a hunters’ organization, but when hunting declined, and more and more Americans became city-dwelling non-hunters, the NRA changed its emphasis to convince home owners to buy handguns for self-defense. However, handguns make homes far less safe. With a gun in the home a family member is 22 times more likely to be shot than an intruder.
Our lawmakers have responded to pressures from the NRA and failed to make improvements in our gun laws. Our lawmakers will respond to public pressure when enough of us speak out. We can write letters and make phone calls to urge our congressmen and women and our senators to support building a culture of peace and more restrictions on gun ownership.
We can join and support organization and initiatives such as:
Assault Weapons Ban of 2017 recently introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein. https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/11/senators-introduce-assault-weapons-ban
Goods for Guns program in Worcester, and its National Gun Buyback Day on December 16 https://www.gunbuybacks.org
The Brady Campaign https://www.bradycampaign.org/
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America https://momsdemandaction.org/
Everytown for Gun Safety https://everytown.org/contact-us/
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence https://www.csgv.org/
Americans for Responsible Solutions https://giffords.org/
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence http://lawcenter.giffords.org/
Center for Nonviolent Solutions in promoting a culture of peace and finding alternatives to violence https://www.nonviolentsolutions.org/
Together we can promote a culture of peace and make our nation a less angry, less violent, more peaceful country.