Keep guns out of hands of dangerous people

Daily Local News, 9/8/16

To the Editor:

I read with interest your Tuesday, Sept. 6th article about the depressing ‘New Normal’ where public buildings, local governments, schools and just about any place where a large number of people can work or gather have to deal with the reality that some unhinged person with a gun can show up anywhere and start firing away.

After the Sandy Hook shooting, there is a serious effort being done to make our public spaces safer.

Your article wrote extensively about the millions of dollars that are being spent on safety measures, such as bullet proof glass, active shooter drills, updated alarm systems, buzzing people in, and even high tech drivers license readers in an attempt to thwart the chances of the unthinkable… a mass shooting here in Chester County. This new reality is really depressing.

I refuse to accept the fact that we have to live in a world where we will have to spend millions of dollars upgrading our public buildings because there are so many unfit people in our country with easy access to guns. I also refuse the image of the NRA and gun rights advocates that the only solution is to arm every American to ‘protect’ ourselves and loved ones in a dystopian view of gun shoot outs with citizens protecting their loved ones by blazing away at the ‘bad guy with a gun.’

The best solution is not to deal with the aftermath of dangerous people having guns, it is to do everything to prevent that person from getting the guns to begin with! That is why gun violence prevention groups talk prevention at the most basic level:

*Universal Background checks for all gun sales-public and private

*Strengthened Background checks- loss of gun rights for all domestic abusers, and anyone with a mental illness

*Cracking Down on Gun Trafficking and Gun Fencing with effective measures such as lost and Stolen reporting and one gun per month

The states that have measures like these in place have half the gun deaths of other states. Take for example, New Jersey, which has strong gun laws to prevent the unfit from getting a gun. NJ gun deaths per 100,000 is 2.8 Contrast that with PA gun deaths per 100,000 is 11.2. The National average of gun deaths per 100,000 is 10. Compare with Canada- 2.3 and Great Britain- less than 1 gun death per 100,000, and you can see that the best safety measure is not bullet proof glass, or active shooter drills. It is doing everything you can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

Tom Buglio
Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

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