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In America, guns are synonymous with freedom. Guns were the tools by which our land was settled and tamed, through hunting, protection, and slaughter of Native people. Guns are how we protect our homes and lives. But they are also synonymous with the horror and death caused by domestic terrorism and murder.
In the US 73 percent of homicides are gun-related killings, compared to three percent in England and 38 percent in Canada, and 13 percent in Australia. In the US there are 120.5 firearms per 100 people. In America we have a mass shooting almost every six weeks. They are in our stores, nursing homes, and schools. We know this because our children prepare for them in drills. Stores sell bullet proof backpacks that come in fun colors, for kids.
After each mass shooting, Americans get lost arguing in the dissonance between our need of guns, our love of guns, and our destruction by guns. But a 2017 study done by the Pew Research Center on gun culture in America, shows that both sides are truly not so far apart when it comes to policy solutions. Gun owners and non-gun owners are both in agreement when it comes to background checks on gun purchases for private sales at gun shows, they also agree on barring gun purchases for people on the no fly list, and preventing the mentally ill from buying guns. That same research shows that both gun owners and non-gun owners believe that guns are too easily obtained, even legally in the United States. In March, the Trump administration banned bump stocks.
All too often, lost in the debate, are the voices of the responsible gun owners, who advocate for more background checks and protections, but still want to maintain their rights to own and carry firearms. Those voices are too often drowned out by elected officials who refuse to allow common sense gun control measures to even be debated on a state and national level. And that refusal will kill us. A recent study by epidemiologist at Columbia University found that states with <URL destination="https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l542">more lenient gun laws had more mass shootings.
</URL>More so than anti-gun advocates, we need gun owners to speak up about how to stop this contagion. To advocate for the policies and positions we agree on. Those are the voices we need right now and without them, we will just keep arguing while the bodies pile up.
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