Choosing Action Over Resignation

By: Emily Barbo Posted on: November 8, 2017 Topics: guns, viewpoint

Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and San Bernardino. Active shooting incidents occur most frequently in schools and businesses according to the FBI.

I’m sitting in my office, at a school. Can this thing happen to me, here?

Just a few weeks ago, 59 people were killed at a concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last Sunday the most recent American mass shooting took place in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

If I work, I might get shot.
If I study, I might get shot.
If I pray, I might get shot.

If I live in America, I might get shot.

This is a map of shooting deaths so far this year.


Oh, my God. I’m in a sea of red. How many miles would I have to travel to not be near a dot? Hundreds of miles? This is huge. This is what an epidemic looks like. But I’m just one person. If Congress can’t do anything about it, how am I supposed to?

Washington and Hawaii passed legislation this year that alerts police when a felon or domestic abuser tries to buy a gun and fails a background check. Utah, North Dakota, and Tennessee passed laws making it more difficult for people at risk of suicide or committing domestic violence crimes from getting guns. Professor Mike Siegel has been on the forefront of gun violence research at BU SPH and shared that 90% of Americans believe in comprehensive background checks, as do 92% of gun owners.

I know there isn’t a magic pill, there isn’t a piece of legislation that’s going to miraculously cure this epidemic. But Americans agree there is something that will help, and these states are proving it. Isn’t making it just a little bit harder to kill someone with a gun, isn’t saving just one life worth it? I think it is. So what can I do?

Gun violence in America is a public health problem. It’s a voter problem. It’s my problem. It’s your problem.

Here’s the “something” we can do right now.

  1. Know the facts, shut down the myths: Everytown for Gun Safety provides research on a range of vital issues surrounding gun violence, develops data-driven solutions, and works with lawmakers and people like you to pass common-sense laws and policies that save lives.
  2. Support the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: More than 32,000 victims of gun violence die each year. To combat these unacceptable numbers we have an ambitious goal to cut gun deaths in half by 2025.
  3. Challenge the NRA with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence: CSGV’s guiding principle is simple: We believe that all Americans have a right to live in communities free from gun violence. We pursue this goal through policy development, strategic engagement, and effective advocacy.
  4. Vote: Vote in national elections. Vote in local elections. Call your representatives when a piece of gun safety legislation is being debated and tell them how to vote. Know who you are voting for and what they are going to do about gun violence in America. If a candidate isn’t talking about guns, ask! Write a letter to the editor of your local paper and demand that lawmakers stand up and take action.

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