Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

October 10, 2013

Let's reduce gun fatalities

Editor, Townsman:

Americans kill other Americans with guns every day. According to published reports, about 90 people in America are victims of gun misuse on a daily basis. Conventional wisdom would have you believe that criminals and the mentally ill are primarily responsible for this violence. But the reality of gun violence in America paints a different picture. Many times it is caused by ordinary Americans — like the parent arguing with a coach at a youth soccer game that gets out of control, or the political discussion at a neighborhood cookout that turns unexpectedly violent. How many times have you read or heard the same tragic comment: “It just went off.”

While the right to bear arms is enshrined in our Constitution, the constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are also part of our Constitution. If we believe ourselves to be a proud, generous and peace-loving nation, then conscience must dictate that we do everything we can to reduce the number of Americans dying every year from gun-related incidents.

We took action more than 40 years ago when more than 50,000 Americans died annually from automobile fatalities. Americans demanded that reducing injury and loss of life from highway accidents become a national priority. Congress took action and established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address automobile and highway safety and conduct research on the causes of highway accidents. As a result, automobile-related fatalities dropped from more than 50,000 to around 42,000 per year.

Today, more than 30,000 Americans die as a result of gun misuse every year. Can we find ways to reduce that number? Can’t we take concerted action today with firearms? Can’t we come together and make reducing gun-related injury and death a national priority? It’s clear what happened when we focused on highway safety. Can’t we do the same with guns?

John F. Zipeto

14 Canterbury St.

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