Letter: Downright appalled
We were appalled by the Feb. 20 report in the PI about the video posted on Sheriff Lou Vallario’s Facebook page. Vallario criticizes “liberal politicians” and movie stars for attacking gun use; this is totally off base. This sounds like something from the NRA playbook. It makes us wonder how much the NRA has been subsidizing Vallario.
He is correct that we need to have closer control on mentally ill people obtaining firearms, but one just has to look at other highly developed countries with stringent gun control where people with mental problems do not go around shooting people. Having assault rifles, such as the AR-15, in our society should not be allowed. These are weapons designed solely to kill people and have little sporting use.
Blaming guns is not a “cop-out” as Vallario states. Massachusetts has the most stringent gun laws in the country and the lowest gun death rate. Just take a look at some statistics from a study of 22 highly developed countries published online in the American Journal of Medicine (11/6/15): Even though the United States has half the total population of the other 22 nations combined, the U.S. accounted for 82 percent of all gun deaths. The overall gun homicide rate in the U.S. was 25 times higher, and for 15- to 24-year-olds the gun homicide rate in the U.S. was 49 times higher than in the other countries.
Firearm-related suicide rates were eight times higher in the U.S. while overall US suicide rates were average. The overall firearm death rate in the U.S. from all causes was 10 times higher than in the other 22 countries. Ninety percent of women, 91 percent of children aged 0-14 years, and 92 percent of all people killed by firearms were from the U.S.
It is time that our children stop serving as collateral damage for the gun lobbyists, such as the NRA, who oppose stricter gun laws. Automatic rifles have no place in our society and must be outlawed. If we are going to be a civilized society that is free from continued gun violence and killing, we must enact stricter gun laws that keep automatic weapons such as AR-15s out of public hands, enforce strict background checks, and elect public officials who are willing to take action to stem this continuing gun violence.
Bob Millette and Maggie Pedersen