2018-02-23 / Letters

Pass stricter gun regulations

To the editor:

Our children and young people are being murdered in mass shootings and our elected officials are doing absolutely nothing. Since a gunman killed 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School with an assault rifle in 2012, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide. In those episodes, 438 people were shot, 138 of whom were killed. We need to ask, when is enough, enough?

There is clear data that stronger gun regulations have an enormous impact in dramatically reducing gun violence and deaths. Gun homicide rates are 25.5 times higher in the U.S. than in other high-income countries. These other countries all have stronger gun regulations. Closing loopholes to unlimited access to guns also reduces suicide rates and deaths of police officers.

There are two regulations that would save lives:

 Banning civilians from buying automatic and semiautomatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

 Requiring background checks on purchases of all guns, including those at gun shows and online sales. Most states do not require background checks on these sales and that ends up making it possible for anyone to buy a gun. You need to have a license and insurance to drive a car because of the potential danger, but large numbers of guns are sold without any regulation.

While 64 percent of Americans polled support stricter gun laws, our legislators are accepting large sums of money from the National Rifle Association to advance the NRA’s agenda to sell as many guns as possible with few limitations. I question whether those donations are worth more than our children’s lives. In choosing not to take common sense steps to reduce gun violence, our legislators become morally complicit in the deaths of our children.

Children should not need to fear for their lives simply by going to school. I don’t believe that there’s any difference in Republicans and Democrats love for our children so let’s not politicize their safety. We are the grown ups and it is our job to protect them. The buck stops here.

Please let our legislators know that we want them to pass common sense gun regulations.

Roberta Zuckerman South Portland

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