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Letter to the Editor: Time to support life-saving legislation
Letter To The Editor

From Derek Hoesly


To the editor:

31 dead. Several people wounded. Last month there were two mass shootings in less than 24 hours. This should not be considered the norm; reckless gun violence in the United States has to stop. Common sense gun reform will reduce the carnage that this country is witnessing. This issue is of real, personal concern for many Americans, including myself. At just 28 years old my friend ended his own life using a gun.

The U.S. is the only advanced country facing an increasing rate of gun violence while continuing to do nothing at the federal level except offer thoughts and prayers. Without legislative action, those thoughts and prayers are nothing but hollow words.

The first step is to implement universal background checks for all gun sales. This action is supported by the MAJORITY, with 94-97% of Americans, over 80% of Wisconsinites, and 78% of Wisconsin’s gun owners in support. Over seven months ago, the United States House of Representatives showed action at the federal level is possible by passing a bill implementing universal background checks for all gun sales (HR8) and allocating $50 million to the CDC for gun violence research. Unfortunately, this life-saving legislation is still sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk and that’s wrong.

Connecticut saw a 40% decline in homicides after passing universal background checks and a 14% reduction in suicide rate after increased enforcement of its red flag law (also known as extreme risk protection order). States that have enacted laws such as universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders have seen a reduction in homicides and suicides. We don’t have to live like this, with kids afraid to go to school and a mass shooting nearly every day.

At the state level, Governor Tony Evers is pushing legislators to take action in order to reduce gun violence. At a press conference on Aug. 15, he announced an expanded background checks bill for gun sales which will save lives. I encourage everybody to reach out to their representatives and senators (both at the state and federal level) asking them to support this life-saving legislation. I’m asking everybody that reads this to look into your hearts and ask yourself what you want the future of this country to look like: Do you want to continue to see kids slaughtered or do you want to see a reduction in the number of lives we lose? Enough is Enough.