I support the 2nd Amendment and recognize the need to address gun violence as a public health issue.
The debate should not be between gun control versus gun rights. We should be discussing ways we can work together to prevent gun violence and preserve the 2nd Amendment.
"We've got to get back talking, and right now, we're just throwing out solutions that one side rejects completely, and one side accepts. And all they're saying is, 'When I get the majority, I'm going to force it upon you.' That's probably not the way to pull a nation back together." — Dr. Bob Lorinser, The Daily Mining Gazette - March 2022
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This law is part of our Constitution, and it shall not be infringed. Gun-rights advocates view firearm ownership as a fundamental American civil liberty.
I support the 2nd Amendment.
At the same time, it's critical to recognize that gun-related deaths and violence in the US claimed nearly 21,000 lives, and suicide by gun claimed 25,000 lives last year. We have a problem in this country.
Gun violence like cancer has no single cure or cause. There are many types of gun violence with different risk factors and different prevention strategies:
Urban gun violence primarily affecting minority young men
Accidental shooting (children at homes with guns)
Federal gun violence research restarted after nearly 25 years of absence in 2019. Federal money for gun research essentially stopped in 1996 with the Dickey Amendment, which barred the CDC from spending money to "advocate or promote gun control."
Unfortunately, there is scant rigorous evidence to prove or disprove policies to decrease gun violence. Limited research continued at the state or local levels and other branches in the federal government, like the National Institute of Health (NIH), support moving the country forward.
Solutions shouldn't be an either/or – Keep guns or prevent gun violence. Instead, we should discuss how to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and reduce gun violence. We need a win-win. Gun violence is a public health problem and deserves attention and research commensurate with its impact on our Nation.
Possible strategies supported by the current research:
Expanding background checks to reduce violent crime.
Waiting times for gun purchases to reduce suicide and violent crime.
Safety storage to reduce firearm injuries and deaths, especially among children.
We must move forward together addressing gun violence with the support of science in our decision-making. This is an interesting article for your reading. We can and will work together to address gun violence and its tragic impact on our communities.
It's time to find common ground in the gun debate and move forward, united, together.