LETTER: ‘We need more than thoughts and prayers to counter senseless violence’

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Dear Editor,

I think most would agree we need more than thoughts and prayers to counter the senseless violence and tragedies resulting from the gun culture run rampant that exists in our country and very community.

In the past few months two young women were mowed down off Ambaum, one young man was killed by his friend who was goofing off with a gun, and now an innocent woman was slaughtered by a bullet gone astray from its intended target.

Guns have been brought to our middle schools, by 7th or 8th graders!

Yet I almost never hear people speaking up publicly about getting control over the ease of gun acquisition by people who shouldn’t have them. 36% of Washington State adults have a firearm in or around their home, 51% reported having an unlocked firearm. In Washington State, a child or teen dies by firearm every 8 days according to the Children’s Defense fund. Safe storage can help reduce the risk of suicide by firearm and accidental shootings among children and adolescents by 78% and 85% respectively.

In addition to loopholes for acquiring guns, gangsters steal guns.

Children’s Hospital has a proven model for increasing the safety of our kids and community called “Safe Firearm Storage.” Several community leaders are working with me to sponsor such a program in our community which involves giving away free trigger locks and lock boxes for guns. Initiative 1639 is coming up, which when passed will make it harder to acquire a semi-automatic weapon without a careful screening and waiting period, and give penalties to gun owners who don’t responsibly store their guns.

Don’t believe all the rhetoric about how this is the slippery slope to taking away our ability to protect ourselves with guns. What it will do is go beyond thoughts and prayers and hopefully reduce gun tragedies. Please don’t be afraid to speak up because you will offend a gun enthusiast. Many gun owners also promote safe storage of firearms to prevent theft, accidental and intentional shootings and suicides by gun.

Talk to your neighbors, relatives and friends about this, you could help prevent the next tragedy.

– Julie Burr

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