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Everyone can play a role in a safer society

To the Editor:

Keith Kidwell’s bill to allow “Constitutional carry” will put our communities at greater risk.
A 2017 study by Stanford’s John J. Donohue and the National Bureau of Economic Research compared rates of violent crime in states with RTC laws (Right to Carry, loosening gun restrictions) to crime rates in states without RTC. Donohue found that after 10 years, states with RTC laws had 13- to 15-percent higher rates of violent crime than those without. After five years, violent crime rates were up 7 percent.

Another study in 2004 by The National Research Council produced similar results with fewer years of data. The conclusion is clear: Guns can quickly escalate a conflict that might otherwise have not ended in a death.
In the U.S. over 36,000 people die each year due from gun violence. More than 100,000 are injured. Harvard Injury Research Center (2017) estimates civilians in the U.S. own 265 million guns. According to the Global Burden of Disease Report, the U.S. has four times the number of gun-related fatalities than France and Finland. In short, we have a lot of guns in America, and firearm deaths and injuries on the rise. The conclusion is clear: More guns do not make us safer.
So what will make us safer? First, don’t fall for the line that all it takes to save us is a good man with a gun. Then fund more research into gun-related incidents by rescinding the Dickey Amendment, which ended financial support for CDC research into gun violence. There are measures we can take now: implement responsible universal background checks, take guns away from mentally ill persons, offer more counseling services, teach problem solving and collaborative problem solving in schools and create more inclusive communities. A number of initiatives are already underway. Each one can play a role in creating safer schools and a safer society.

Sue Jefferson
Beaufort County