Letter: Sobering numbers on guns in America
To the editor:
Many thanks to Nancy Maurice Rogers, program director for the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, for bringing Jonathan Perloe of CT Against Gun Violence (CAGV) to the Berkshires. His informative (and alarming) talk on gun violence Oct. 7 was important for all to hear.
The statistics are indeed frightening: almost 40,000 Americans killed by guns every year, which includes mass shootings, suicides, homicides, domestic violence and unintended shootings. That would be more than 100 people per day. There are presently more civilian-owned guns in this country than residents (325 million people vs. about 390 million guns) or approximately 1.2 guns per person.
As Perloe pointed out, Massachusetts and neighboring Connecticut have passed some of the strongest gun control laws in the country, resulting in some of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the nation.
Action is needed, however, at the federal level to inhibit gun traffic between those states that have strict limits on gun ownership and other, more lenient, ones (such as New Hampshire and Maine) — and hopefully to ban high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, AK-47s and other military-style assault weapons, like those used in many of the recent mass shootings throughout the country.
Perloe ended his talk with suggestions on how to encourage the passage of further gun control measures: sending letters/emails and making personal visits to our elected officials, and attending legislators' town hall meetings and public hearings, as well as marches and rallies. I urge everyone to check the website of "Stop Handgun Violence" (stophandgunviolence.org), our Massachusetts-based gun violence prevention advocacy group, for further information.
It is time our representatives stood up to the NRA and its minions in Congress. It is time for the United States to protect its citizens.
My thanks to Perloe for his advocacy and for making clear the dangers faced every day by ordinary Americans — and for his proposed solutions. They are within our grasp, if only we had the courage.
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