There was a post on Reddit that caught our eye about a constituent meeting with a legislator about the topic of guns. It sounds like the legislator in question was pleasantly surprised because the constituent was not only calm, but also well prepared with information- you can read about it here:
(A special thanks to the folks from our forums for sourcing it)
It is worth considering, when discussing gun legislation with someone who is known to be anti-gun, that perhaps it’s that the right alternatives have not been presented, and they are looking for a way to make a difference.
It is likely that their exposure to gun-rights folks has been limited almost entirely to people who try to shut down any discussion and bring nothing productive to the table.
It’s also a large reason why we exist.
So what things could we bring to the table? We’ve done a lot of writing on the subject, but perhaps it’s worth creating a quick cheat sheet of salient points. And remember, we’re looking for solutions, not screaming at each other.
- By strengthening the middle class for all Americans, we’ll do more to reduce the homicide rate than any gun legislation out there.
Violence has more correlation to the GINI index than it does to gun ownership. (Source: The Guardian)
- Raising the minimum wage and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit will reduce gun deaths by a larger percentage and total number than an assault weapons ban or universal background check will by far.
About 60% of all deaths involving a firearm are suicides- and for every dollar that the minimum wage is increased, suicide rates drop by 1.9%. This would save an estimated 1093 people per year from dying. Comparatively, in the past 30 years we have only had 547 deaths from mass shootings. This would save 60 times the number of people that die from mass shootings per year. (Source: Reuters/Washington Post/Vox)
- Universal Health Care will ensure that people who need medical help can get it without a fear of how they’ll pay for it, whether it’s for themselves or their kids.
To be clear, mental illness is a higher predictor of those who will harm themselves or become victims of violence rather than whether they will become the next mass shooter. Given that suicide comprises 60% of all deaths involving a gun, we would have a greater reduction in overall deaths than any other program by helping these folks who need it the most.
- Federal funding for violence intervention programs will have the largest impact for reducing our homicide rates.
We’ve got clear evidence that programs like Ceasefire (Source: Mercury News), Cure Violence (Source: Cure Violence.org) and other community intervention programs have a far larger role in reducing homicide rates in areas where they are the worst.
- Fixing our existing background check system should be a priority.
Universal Background Checks sound great on paper, but they don’t make an actual difference (Source: UC Davis) We should however, ensure that the system we have is working as it’s supposed to. Up to 25% of all felonies are never reported to the NICS system (Source: The Trace). Although Fix NICS was passed, stronger penalties for states that don’t comply to encourage reporting will help. Free technical expertise to the states should also be provided.
We’ve talked about these things for years. From our Root Cause Mitigation page, to multiple blogs like this one on suicide reduction, this one on root cause violence reduction, and project Ceasefire. On our Regulations page we address some of the more commonly proposed restrictions on firearms and where we stand on them. We’ve long been committed to addressing these issues, and we have data to show what can actually help. The question is, are politicians willing to work on real solutions?
Current Bills in Congress we are monitoring:
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