Letter to the editor: Can we make a difference?

Can we make a difference?

Received Feb. 15

We just lost 17 Americans to a shooter. This was on our own soil, at one of our own schools. I don’t know of any gun law that will prevent mass shootings. But I know one way we can decrease gun deaths in the USA. Gun locks. In the U.S., we now lose about 38 citizens per year to mass shootings, 11,000 citizens per year to gun homicide, 21,000 citizens per year to gun suicide.

Every day, 58 Americans kill themselves with a gun. Guns are used in 6 percent of all suicide attempts, yet because of their instant lethality, they result in 54 percent of all completed suicides. Ninety percent of people who survive suicide attempts don’t go on to kill themselves. Eighty two and a half percent of all suicide attempts with a gun result in death. The more gun owners in a state, the more suicides there are.

Eighty two percent of youth suicides by gun are completed with a parent’s gun. Think it’s about gun safety knowledge or education?

Suicide is the leading cause of death among military veterans. Sixty eight percent use a gun. Suicide is impulsive. Laws that require owners to store their gun with a locking device result in 68 percent fewer suicides. Slowing people down works. Maybe we don’t change laws. We start with gun shops, veterans, or the NRA. Make the gun owners the fiercest supporters of gun locks. It has to become part of gun culture. Find something that slows people down in their moment of crisis.

(Word count: 250)

MATT LARSEN

Idaho Falls

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