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Letter to the Editor: Address Gun Violence

— To the Editor:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 31, 672 firearms deaths during 2012. That is far an away more firearm deaths than in any other western democracy.

We all have an obligation to act now to enact the legislation and provide the funding to begin to reduce this appalling epidemic of gun violence. We all have an obligation to our children, our neighbors, ourselves to act — not in the expectation of ending this scourge but with the certainty that we can save lives.

The present day merchants of death, represented by the gun industry and its front organization, the NRA, would have us believe that proposals to reduce gun violence are bound to be ineffective.

Those of us who have lived in Western European countries that have strict and effective gun laws know that the number of gun deaths is a fraction of ours while their democracy is just as vibrant as ours while their young people look at the same violent videos as do ours.

The most recent 2007 Swiss-based Small Arms Survey is the most complete world-wide comparison of gun fatalities. It shows that in 2007 there were 9,146 gun homicides in the U.S. (It was 11,078 by 2013). That was 2.97 gun homicides per 100,000 residents. In Australia there were 30 gun homicides and a rate per 100,000 of 0.14. Canada had 173 homicides and a rate of 0.51. England and Wales came in with 41 homicides and a rate of 0.07 while France had 35 gun homicides and a rate of 0.06.

We have steadily reduced auto fatalities despite an increase in miles driven. We have drastically reduced the number of those using tobacco. We have ended slavery, ended the disenfranchisement of blacks, drastically reduced racial, sexual and religious discrimination. We have overcome the ban on inter-racial marriage and begun to accept same sex marriage.

These are huge societal changes in our continuing commitment to " life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Some have taken hundreds of years to achieve. Others have been achieved in astonishingly short time.

It is now time to address gun violence. It can be reduced if we insist that the Congress act now to embrace the President's long over-due proposals.