Writer: Sensible gun reforms needed

Last weekend, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with 2,000 of my fellow Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action volunteer leaders to learn more about how to prevent gun violence in our communities.

We were together when we heard about not one, but two more horrifying shootings. We must act.

There is so much more that we can do to keep our families safe. We need our senators in the capital to vote to regulate a background check on all gun sales. The House of Representatives has already passed a background check bill.

Here in Virginia, we are fortunate to have representatives in Washington who support background checks legislation.

Join Moms Demand Action by texting “READY” to 644-33 to help up empower volunteers in red and purple states to make sure that their senators support this common-sense legislation.

KATE SMITH

Lynchburg

Silence today is complicity

Although I have been gone from my hometown for just over a year, I am submitting this letter to the editor to The News & Advance because I know many more people in Central Virginia than where I live now.

More importantly, I know numerous people there to whom the essence of this letter applies. My message is to them. And in the current state of our nation, candor is as necessary as it has ever been in my lifetime!

Over the past two weeks, three American cities have been visited with vicious gun violence that killed or wounded dozens of innocent citizens. What enabled these mass murders in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton must be specifically identified and candidly called-out.

While it may take some time to sort-out the motives of all the shooters, the massacre in El Paso is most likely a hate crime, given that man’s social media activity and content. This impressionable (read: ignorant) young man was influenced by bad people who trade in hate and fear.

Chief among those people, because of his position and his access to maximum media exposure, is Donald Trump, president of the United States. He is clearly a racist, white nationalist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant who employs those traits and polarizes our nation.

His public protestations to the contrary are simply more lies from a man who has proven himself to be a pathological liar, willing to say anything that will please his supporters and keep him in office.

The other essential enabler of these shooters is the availability of rapid-fire automatic weapons with high capacity clips. There is no logical reason for any citizen, other than law enforcement officers, to have such weapons! A pistol for home protection, or a rifle or shotgun for hunting, should suffice for those purposes. No Second Amendment rights would be violated if these simple restrictions were in place.

Facts like this are mind-numbing: “As of July 31, 2019, [before El Paso and Dayton] 248 mass shootings had occurred in 2019 that fit the inclusion criteria (basically 4 or more victims) of one source. This averages out to 1.2 shootings per day. In these shootings, 979 people were shot; of those people, 246 died.” [Wikipedia]

This is “domestic terrorism” and should be treated as such by our federal government.

The enablers are easily identified. It begins at the top with Trump. It includes his supporters, who are equally culpable. It includes the intractable members of the NRA who refuse to accept any sensible gun laws. And, I submit, it includes you to the extent that you do not speak out on this crucial matter!

BILL BLACKWELL

Midlothian

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