Thanks for your article “Protesting Gun Violence,” which focused on the persistent efforts of a number of groups to reduce gun violence. I applaud the author’s recognition that these organizations focus on gun violence prevention rather than “gun control.” How we talk about this problem is one key to solving it.
Just as the language and duration of media coverage of suicides influences subsequent copycat suicides, so does coverage of mass shootings. Unrelenting focus on the motive of the murderer, the body count, and weapons used only fuels the next murderer. The term “gun control” merely draws resistance from those who mistrust government in all its forms. Instead, we must be honest about the costs to our community and what is standing in the way of preventing future tragedies. Moreover, we must support legislators when they focus on proven, evidence-based measures to prevent future gun violence.
The Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act/Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (S.1539/ H.R.3207) seeks to close the outrageous loopholes in federal law that allow stalkers and non-spouse romantic partners convicted of domestic abuse to buy and possess firearms. I strongly urge all readers to call Senators Kaine and Warner, and Representatives Beyer, Comstock, and Connelly and insist that they sign on as co-sponsors without delay.
Mass shootings gain national attention, but every life lost to gun violence is tragic. Statistics show that the holiday season is a particular time of increased risk for domestic violence involving guns. There are ways to reduce gun violence to make every season safer for families, but change won’t happen until the public demands that it does.
Gun violence is a public health crisis, not a challenge for the next shooter, and we must begin to address it as such.