Letters to the Editor

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GUNS: Look at what’s working in other countries

Letter by Bill F. Nerin, Gig Harbor on Dec. 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm with No Comments »
December 19, 2012 8:56 am

Yes, the Newtown shooting reveals that better mental health care is needed, that gun safety must be a priority, that our political leaders must show leadership, that our culture of violence needs to change, and that we the people must allow our hearts to be one with those who suffer from this horrible tragedy.

Why don’t we also simply learn from other nations how they have controlled such blood-letting? For example, research shows that the firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population in one year in the United States is 9.0 whereas in Australia it is 1.05.

How is it that Australia, a hunter’s paradise, has such a low rate of deaths per 100,000 people? It is worth reading the changes they made in 1996 after a horrible mass murder that killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. Having had other mass murders prior to 1996, this brutal event was the tipping point for Australia.

The prime minister took the lead and they passed national laws that banned assault weapons, semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and demanded a background check for every person buying a new gun, or a secondhand one from a store, a friend,  from anyone – and that the background record is easily accessed by authorities. There are other changes they made.

Since 1996 there has not been one mass shooting in Australia. Perhaps we could learn something from countries like Australia.

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