Editor, The Messenger,

Gun violence is undeniably a public health crisis of epidemic proportions, but the deaths from gun violence we all see on the news and read about online make up only about 35% of deaths from gun violence nationwide. The greatest percentage actually comes from suicide, which accounts for approximately 61% of gun deaths. Suicide attempts with guns have about an 82.5% success rate, while attempted overdose, by contrast, has a 1.5% success rate. 

These deaths are preventable. With the implementation of Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) — funding for which is laid out in H.R. 1236 — people in immediate danger of harming themselves or others with firearms could be relieved on an emergency and temporary basis of those firearms, pending a hearing that would occur within 30 days of the order being carried out. ERPOs could be filed by family members, friends, medical professionals or police officers — all under oath. Fraudulent ERPOs, which, in states where they have been implemented, account for only 1% of reports, would result in a $500 fine.

Ohio has recently seen both a general and gun-specific spike in suicide, and as both a resident and a student of this state, I want the people in my community to be as safe as possible. Depression with a gun is more deadly than depression without a gun.

I urge Representative Steve Stivers to cosponsor this bill for the safety of our community and state. It is his job to advocate for the benefit of District 15 — and Ohio by extension — and therefore his job to support measures such as these, which would benefit not only Athens, District 15, and Ohio, but America at large. I also urge my fellow residents of District 15 to call his office. The Lancaster office number is 740-654-2654, and the Columbus office number is 614-771-4968

Grace Anne Gasperson


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