Editor, The Messenger:

Early Sunday morning, not 13 hours after the shooting in El Paso, Texas, a gunman killed nine people and injured another 26 in Dayton.

This problem is not endemic to our society and we do not have to sit back and accept it as such. The most powerful tools we have as Americans are our voices. Call your representatives. Tell them you support implementation of common-sense gun safety laws. Tell them that there are people in our country who don’t need guns, and they need to do something about it.

I’m not advocating for the removal of all guns from all homes. I’m not advocating for the dissolution of the Second Amendment. I’m advocating for safe gun ownership — and passing these laws would not affect most gun owners, because most gun owners are safe gun owners. The people they would affect are the people who would misuse their guns to hurt innocent people.

Universal background checks (S.42) keep guns out of the hands of violent offenders, criminals and people with a history of abusing their partners. The argument here is that they’re not paying attention to the law now, so why would they pay attention to that law, if it were implemented? The counterargument is that it works. States where universal background checks have been implemented experience lower numbers of people killed as a result of domestic violence, fewer police officers killed in the line of duty, and fewer suicides.

Extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs, H.R.1236) temporarily remove guns from the hands of people in immediate danger of hurting anyone, so long as they have enough evidence to prove there’s a danger. The person from whom the gun was removed would have a process to appeal its removal within 30 days of said removal, and fraudulent reports — which in states where ERPOs are law happens only about 1 percent of the time — would result in a $500 fine. Fifteen states and D.C. have implemented extreme risk laws such as ERPOs, but they need funding to implement them more effectively.

I wrote about the shooting in El Paso, decided to let what I’d written sit for a night so I could edit it in the morning, and woke up to find out about the shooting in Dayton. I am tired. I am tired of not having the time and space to stop reeling from one shooting before the next occurs. I am tired of being scared. I am tired of my friends being scared. I am tired of this epidemic scarring my country.

Call your representatives. It’s their job to support and pass legislation in the best interest of the people they represent, and they’re failing.

Grace Anne Gasperson

Athens

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