LETTER TO THE EDITOR: More than ‘thoughts and prayers’

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, February 25, 2023

We need more than thoughts and prayers.

The Mass shooting at Michigan State University is another wake-up call about the urgent need for laws reducing gun violence – in both Michigan and our country.

“Red Flag“ laws allow state courts temporary removal of firearms from persons dangerous to others or themselves. A woman is five-times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has a gun. The US had 49,979 suicides in 2022, which accounts for 54 percent of all firearm deaths. “Red Flag” laws would help protect women’s lives and save individuals who pose a risk to themselves.

We need Universal Background checks, mandatory waiting periods, and mental health restrictions. A US survey shows 88 percent of the participants, including 85 percent of gun owners, favor background checks. Federal law requires background checks when purchasing from licensed dealers. However, only 40 percent of guns are sold by dealers. In most states, gun show sales and private sales aren’t regulated. States that require private sale background checks have 48 percent fewer firearm suicides.

Let’s stop children’s gun deaths by requiring owners to store guns unloaded, locked away and separated from ammunition.

Assault, rapid fire weapons with high-capacity magazines are deadly and account for 85 percent of US mass shooting fatalities. During the 1994-2004 federal ban on assault weapons, mass shootings were 70 percent less likely to occur than 13 years before and after the ban. I’m qualified with assault weapons, but ask do we really need weapons of war in civilian society?

Urge your legislators to pass laws that save the lives of adults and children. Michigan should pass “Red Flag”, Universal Background check, and Safe Weapon storage laws. Ideally, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would also once again become the law of the land.

Stricter gun safety laws will protect our students’ lives and help alleviate their growing fear of just going to school.

Ken Peterson

MAJ USA (Ret.)