To the editor:
Since the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., I have been studying the issue of gun violence. Here are some of the facts I have learned: since 1963, 166,500 children and teenagers have lost their lives to guns. That is an average of 3,470 deaths every year for 50 years. The number of children and teens killed by guns since 1963 is three times as great as the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined. That is an average of eight children per day.
So far, the government has spent over a trillion dollars on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq supposedly to protect the U.S., its citizens and its children. At the same time, Congress has ignored the reality that our children are being killed and destroyed right here, right now, in this country.
Every time a tragedy like Newtown occurs the gun industry would have us ask ourselves, “How did this happen?” The events of Newtown, Aurora, Columbine, Seattle, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and oh, so many more, are not isolated. They are the direct result of the NRA’s perpetration to sell more guns, to make guns more accessible, to reduce the restrictions on gun purchasing. It is all about the selling of guns and creating new markets for guns.
We are in the midst of an epidemic of violence fueled by the gun industry. The problem of gun violence is a public health issue. We can approach the situation the same way we challenged the tobacco industry, namely by exposing the facts.
Because of the facts we have learned to wear seat belts, we have safer highways. We have learned the dangers of smoking, and that foods and drugs need to be regulated.
It is our right as citizens to have access to this data and to all facts regarding consumer products. It is how we make informed decisions. It is unbelievable to me that guns and firearms are not regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Act. The gun industry has strategically protected itself from the consequences of its very harmful products.
I believe the industry will not be able to stand up to the scrutiny of an informed public. Let’s learn the facts and take on the national gun industry.