We Need Much More Than Thoughts and Prayers
Submitted by Kenneth Peterson, MAJ USA (Ret.), Buchanan MI
The recent mass shooting at Michigan State University (MSU) is another wake-up call about the urgency for state and federal laws to reduce gun violence – in Michigan and our country.
Implementing “Red Flag“ laws allow state courts to temporarily remove firearms from persons deemed a danger to others or themselves. A woman is five-times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has a gun. The US had 49,979 suicides in 2022; and suicides account for 54% of all firearm deaths. “Red Flag” laws would help save women’s lives in domestic violence situations; and they would save the lives of many individuals who pose a suicide risk.
We need Universal Background checks, mandatory waiting periods, and mental health restrictions to purchase guns. In a recent US survey, 88% of the participants including 85% of gun owners, favor universal background checks. Federal law requires background checks when purchasing from licensed gun dealers. Only 40% of US guns sold are from dealers. In most states, gun show sales, flea markets, and private sales aren’t regulated. 30% of guns involved in criminal trafficking are connected to unregulated gun shows. There are 48% fewer firearm suicides in those states with background requirements at private handgun sales.
We should require owners to store their guns unloaded, locked away, ideally in a gun safe, separated from any ammunition. Let’s stop children’s gun deaths and prevent children from shooting their teacher as recently occurred in Virginia
Assault weapons with high volume fire and large capacity magazines are exceptionally deadly and have been involved in 85% of US mass shooting fatalities. During the 1994-2004 federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, mass shootings were 70% less likely to occur than 13 years before and after the ban. I am qualified on combat assault weapons and don’t suggest banning all weapons, but do we need to bring dangerous weapons of war into our civilian society?
Contact and urge your legislators to strongly support efforts to save lives and protect our children. Minimally, Michigan should pass “Red Flag” laws, implement Universal Background checks, and have laws requiring safe weapon storage. Ideally, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would also once again become the law of the land.
With new gun safety laws, we can start protecting our students’ lives and help alleviate their growing fear of just going to school.
~ Ken Peterson, MAJ USA (Ret.), Buchanan
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