Stephanie Thomas: Gun violence needs solutions

Democratic candidate for Connecticut's 143rd House district, Stephanie Thomas, at the Oct. 16 candidate debate. — Bryan Haeffele photo
Democratic candidate for Connecticut’s 143rd House district, Stephanie Thomas, at the Oct. 16 candidate debate. — Bryan Haeffele photo

Like many other Connecticut residents, the gun violence that surrounds us feels personal to me. When I go to public places, I find myself searching for the emergency exit, wondering what I can upend to hide behind — just in case. I have spoken with numerous people on the campaign trail who share this fear — for themselves, for their children.

I wish we could have a purely academic debate about whether or not Americans should have guns. However, it is not academic because every day, we lose 96 people to gun violence and over 200 are shot and survive. More guns equal more gun deaths.

We need proactive lawmakers to enact real change by:

  • Closing the loophole that doesn’t mandate reporting to local law enforcement when someone fails a background check.
  • Banning access to critical gun parts that cannot be serialized.
  • Reaching consensus around empowering law enforcement to request a permit if someone is openly carrying a firearm in public.
  • Addressing contributing factors such as mental illness, inadequate community services, hate and intolerance.
  • Restricting the number of guns that can be bought at once.
  • Accelerating the dialogue on liability insurance for gun dealers and on personalizing technology for guns.

More than just strong laws, Connecticut needs lawmakers willing to stand up to the powerful gun lobby so we can study, shop, work, eat and live without fear of gun violence. We’ll only succeed if we put politics aside and work together toward solutions.

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