Small steps can help

To the editor,

The latest mass shootings are only the latest heights of horrific gun violence resulting from the hate-speech- and gun-fueled society that we live in. While these events shine a spotlight on our societal failings, there is a much more common river of murders and suicides that flows through our country that is related to the same toxic cultural brew. Firearms are the most common method of suicide and murder, and we, as a society, must act to reduce this. Far too many people choose to end their lives or another’s with a firearm, and we should find this intolerable. Suicide by firearms is on the rise among our veterans. How can we as a society stand this? Thoughts and prayers are not enough.

We must start to make meaningful change and abandon the path of unrestricted gun ownership without regard to common sense. Do we need to live in a society where a lone shooter can kill so many so quickly? Do we need to live in a society where anyone can immediately purchase a firearm without any training? I call on our elected representatives to support meaningful gun-control legislation – universal background checks without loopholes, universal mandatory waiting periods and trainings, and eliminate the non-military use of high-capacity rapid-fire weapons.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees a place for guns in our society, but not an unlimited one. Small and sensible restrictions can go a long way to stemming (but not halting) the tide of firearms-related suicides and murders while placing extremely mild conditions on firearms ownership. As a side benefit, perhaps, these ideas will reduce the frequency of headline-grabbing mass shootings.

Let’s not wait until this violence blots out the life of someone we love or dims the light of community that we love.

Will Dickinson

Grand Haven

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