Lynne Dodson on:
As a mother, as a teacher, and as a peace activist, I am troubled not only by our violent actions abroad, but also by our failure to address the culture of violence we have sustained even in our own communities.
The recent tragic murders on Capitol Hill reminded us starkly about how the availability of assault weapons in Washington State can turn a troubled person into a mass murderer in minutes.
Horrific as this tragedy was, it is hardly the extent of the violence perpetrated in this state as a result of our failure to enact common-sense gun laws.
In Washington State alone, 567 people die from guns each year. With no change in our gun laws, we can expect...
One child will be killed with a gun every month this year.
More than one person every single day will commit suicide with a gun. Where there is a gun in the house, there is a five times greater likelihood of a successful suicide.
I do not, of course, want to take away legitimate hunting weapons. But our state, unlike our neighboring states, allows the purchase of a gun – any kind of gun – from a gun show with no more paper than cash.
Anyone can walk into most gun shows in this state (and there are about 60 every year) and purchase a 50 caliber sniper rifle with six inch titanium bullets – with no federal background check, no five-day waiting period, no real record of the sale. That assault rifle could take out a commercial plane over a mile away.
More than 82% of Washingtonians believe we should have sensible gun control. And yet the state legislature this year failed to pass legislation that would have closed the gun show loophole in our state laws. I pledge to work tirelessly to close this loophole allowing virtually unregulated weapons sales at gun shows.
For all their talk about keeping us safe from terrorists, Republicans at the national and state level are mighty cavalier when it comes to limiting the accessibility of weapons. As an elected official, I will do all I can to pressure Congress to ban all assault weapons – weapons that have no legitimate purpose.
We need to protect ourselves and our children. The availability of guns in this state makes Washingtonians more susceptible to death not only from deliberate attacks, but even more frequently from accidental shootings and suicides.
I will work for sensible, immediate, and strict gun control laws in our state. These include buy-back programs, promotion of trigger locks, and programs to educate children about what to do if they come across a gun. More than lives are lost in Washington every week because of our lax gun safety laws. Gun violence is everyone's problem. We can't eliminate all deaths, but we can significantly reduce the number. We owe it to ourselves, to our children and to our communities to put an end to this.
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