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Letter: Why I’m Emotional About Gun Violence

To the Editor:

Upon learning about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, people likely thought, “I cannot imagine what those families are going through.” If your second thought was, “People will get emotional and unnecessarily try to change gun laws,” this letter is written with you in mind.

Sadly, I know what a family endures. In 2007, my niece was gunned down in Arizona on her 20th birthday. Her friend, visiting from out of town to celebrate, was also killed. This deranged man wanted to kill my niece, but he didn’t even know her friend. He was able to end her life as she ran away because he had a high-capacity ammunition clip. Limiting the number of rounds is one example of where both sides of the gun-safety-laws debate can find common ground. Adam Lanza would have killed fewer children if he had a 10-round clip instead of a 30.

Improving background checks is favored by 90 percent of people and is another place where people can find common ground. There is support for levying criminal penalties for “straw purchases” of weapons. Lax restrictions on gun sales bring people to Vermont who purchase firearms and sell them illegally to criminals in other states with stricter laws. As careful as you and others may be in storing your weapons, accidents do happen. I don’t know anyone who wants to repeal the Second Amendment or take lawfully obtained guns away from law-abiding citizens. Claims to the contrary are lies perpetuated by fear-mongers. We must have rational conversations about this health crisis that claims 88 lives each day.

I am emotional about gun violence, and I find it insulting when people dismiss my anger-induced activism. Remember, it was grieving families of those killed by drunken drivers who pushed for stricter laws. No law will prevent all gun deaths, but what if the one life it did save was someone you loved? The voices of the silent majority must speak up.

Contact your legislators; come to a GunSenseVermont-Upper Valley meeting; join our email group and Facebook page. I write this in honor of my niece with hope that others won’t have to.

Joy Gaine

Thetford Center