Letter: We Need Safe-Storage Laws

To the Editor:

I salute the Valley News for its poignant, front-page series last week on Newtown, Conn., parents Jackie and Mark Barden. That said, as I stood on June 14 with 85 folks at Hanover’s six-month anniversary vigil of Newtown, I thought about the coming summer. What have we done to make our children safer in school next year? We need to motivate our lawmakers to act.

Vermonters seem to care more about the next generation of deer than they do about their own children. Vermont law prohibits loaded rifles and shotguns in cars to prevent poaching deer and to guard against accidental discharges while driving. However, Vermont law does not prohibit loaded rifles and shotguns in the home. Sadly, this puts our children at great risk, confirmed by lethal statistics: Vermont leads the entire Northeast in the rate of youth suicide by firearm and the rate of accidental firearm death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Green Mountain State needs a safe gun-storage law to make our youngsters safer. Twenty-seven states and Washington, D. C., have such laws. Even the National Shooting Sports Foundation encourages safe storage. If Nancy Lanza had locked her guns, her son Adam couldn’t have gone on his rampage in Newtown. We need a safe storage law here, as well as one for the nation. Tell our legislators in Montpelier and Washington why. It’s our kids.

Bob Williamson

South Woodstock


Part One: Newtown Parents Mourn as Gun Legislation Falters

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First of three parts. Newtown, Conn. — They had promised to try everything, so Mark Barden went down into the basement to begin another project in memory of Daniel. The families of Sandy Hook Elementary were collaborating on a Mother’s Day card, which would be produced by a marketing firm and mailed to hundreds of politicians across the country. “A …

Part Two: For Newtown Parents, Advocacy Fails to Fill Void

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Second of three parts. Newtown, Conn. — It had always seemed to Mark and Jackie Barden that there’s was the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood, in the perfect town. They had often wondered: How did they get so lucky that life delivered them here? Mark had given up a touring career in Nashville, and Jackie had decided she could …

Part Three: With Spotlight Faded, Parents Sit in Silence

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Third of three parts. Newtown, Conn. — Mark and Jackie Barden were tired. They missed the kids. They were ready to go home. But there was still more to do. Before the parents left Delaware, they had a news conference with the state’s governor. They met with him privately first in a hallway at the Capitol. “Thank you for being …