Public Square: Readers weigh in on how to reverse gun violence trend 

Gun Rights

After the recent shooting in Nashville that killed three children and three adults at a Christian school, we asked readers to weigh in on an earlier report that showed gun violence as a major cause of death among children. We asked how the trend can be reversed. Here are some of the responses:

‘We are selling our children’s safety’

We have research identifying eight steps we can take to reduce firearm-related deaths in youths summarized in the University of Virginia’s Call to Prevent Gun Violence. We have known for years what can be done. The lack of action is not due to a lack of knowledge. There is bipartisan support for most of the core steps, so a lack of agreement among the American public is not the issue. We have a lobby and institutions that do not care about our rights. They care about money and power. That is their job, and if you forgive the lazy pun, they have the American people out-gunned. I cannot wrap my head around the amount of money needed to buy that type of power. Yet, the price for which we are selling our children’s safety feels alarmingly cheap.

Anne K. Jacobs, Edmond

One can hope for progress in Congress

1. Emphasize to politicians that gun violence isn’t a Second Amendment issue; it’s a 2023 public safety issue requiring a sensible approach to 2023 gun laws.

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2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

3. Require mandatory training and registration for gun owners (similar to laws for car ownership).

4. Require background checks for ALL gun sales.

5. Recognize that violence is a health issue and establish prevention programs.

6. Expand “red flag” laws.

7. Require that all gun owners safely and securely store their guns.

8. Hold gun manufacturers accountable/libel in their marketing and sales of guns.

Sadly, as polarized as our country is at this point in time, I am not optimistic any of these far-from-original ideas will progress in our Congress. But one can hope.

— Susan Munde-Harding, Bethany

Boost regulation, school security

Regulate gun ownership like car ownership and increase security at schools.

— Alana Westfall, Oklahoma City

Lawmakers, fix this. It’s your job

Assault rifles are weapons of war, the same as hand grenades and machine guns.

Talk to the people who clean up the carnage after a mass shooting, who do the DNA testing on body parts to make sure the blown-off little fingers and toes are in the correct casket.  

It’s our legislators’ job to contain these weapons of war.

It’s our legislators’ job to fix the mental health system they keep trying to blame for the mass shootings.

It’s our legislators’ job to protect our children in school so they can concentrate on learning, not worrying if today is the day they are going to be pulverized.  

— Janice Sexton, Oklahoma City

Legacy of gun owners would be disturbed

My father and his father were both lifetime members of the NRA.  I somehow think they would be bothered by 9-year-olds being buried in Tennessee just because someone had unfettered access to firearms meant for mass destruction.

— Kent A. Mauk, Oklahoma City

We need laws

We need passage of a law(s) that bans assault rifle purchases, and red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and others who are a threat to themselves or others. A permit requirement for gun purchases should be reinstated. We need an educational prevention campaign that heightens public awareness of the importance of securing and storing guns to ensure children’s safety in their own homes, and to reduce the incidence of suicides.

― Trudy Sickles, Norman

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