This morning, we woke up to the news of one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history. Sadly, shielding my three-year-old daughter from this and other news is commonplace in my home. In the aftermath of the Las Vegas tragedy, we can expect the debate on gun control to rage on social media, and rightfully so. Now is the time to talk about responsible gun laws. We cannot allow one more innocent person to lose their life when there are steps we can take to help prevent it.
First, let me say that I am a proud gun owner, and I believe strongly in the constitutional right of all Arkansans to protect themselves and their family. But I also believe in common sense gun laws. The two do not negate each other. It is possible to take common sense steps to reduce accidents and crime while still protecting our right to bear arms.
The first thing we can and must do is provide better education on gun safety storage to raise awareness about firearm accidents that claim the lives of our children. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, American children “face substantial risk of exposure to firearm injury and death.” In fact, a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with the University of Texas found that more than three children per day die in the United States due to guns. We must provide stronger education on how to store guns safely in homes with children.
We also need universal background checks to prevent criminals and terrorists from gaining access to deadly weapons. Currently, private owners are not required to run background checks before selling their firearms, and unlicensed dealers account for a large percentage of overall gun sales. There is no reason that someone with a criminal history should be able to purchase a firearm. According to a 2014 poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 92% of gun owners support universal background checks. Americans are united on this; universal background checks just make sense.
What it comes down to is this: Far, far too many people die from gun violence in America. It’s time that we stop talking about it and act immediately to take legislative steps to help reduce accidents and crime. Because – after all – it’s our tomorrow.