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A Call For Leadership On Gun Laws

(The following letter has been received for publication.)

Dear Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,

After more than two and a half months, our community is still reeling from the tragic loss of 26 innocent lives. December 14th has forever changed our town, our state and our country. If something like this can happen in Sandy Hook, then it can happen anywhere in this nation.

Since December 14th, I have spent my days and nights researching the issue of gun violence, and I am shocked by what I have learned. I learned that I could go to an unlicensed gun dealer and buy a gun without a background check, buy guns from gun traffickers, buy unlimited amount of ammunition online, and I can buy a military-style assault weapons with high capacity magazines easily. Meanwhile 100,000 Americans are shot every year and 32,000 of those individuals die (~12,000 are murdered and ~19,000 commit suicide using guns). Almost 2,500 Americans have died due to gun violence since December 14th. One out of five Americans know a victim of gun violence. Recently, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that Americans worry more about being a victim of gun violence than they do about losing their job or paying their mortgage.

Polls show that 82 percent of gun owners including 74 percent of NRA members support requiring criminal background checks for anyone purchasing guns. Yet, the NRA is fighting background checks. Pew Research Center poll found 55 percent of respondents favored an assault weapons ban. Despite this, rumor has it that you don't have the political courage to pass the assault weapons ban and other sensible gun regulations. I was hoping that the brutal massacre of 20 innocent children and six of their educators in Newtown would forever change you and you would act swiftly and boldly to save thousands of American lives.

I believe stronger gun regulations would have saved lives on that tragic day. I also believe if millions of people in this nation demanded change after Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson and Aurora then maybe just maybe this type of massacre in our neighborhood elementary school could have been avoided. It is unacceptable for us to not take action. Too many Americans are dying every year. You acted swiftly and boldly to institute measures to improve public safety after September 11th and you must do the same after December 14th.

I made a promise on December 14th that I will no longer stay silent and do more to save lives by writing, e-mailing and calling the lawmakers. I traveled down to Washington DC with 40 Newtown teachers, clergy, parents, students, other members of Newtown Action Alliance and families of victims on February 26th and 27th to meet with congressional leaders and to attend Senator Feinstein's Assault Weapons Ban hearing. We shared our stories of tragic loss, our pain and we asked many of you to honor the 26 lives by helping us to turn our tragedy into meaningful action and change. You have the ability to save lives, and I am asking for your leadership.

Po Murray

38 Charter Ridge Drive, Sandy Hook         March 4, 2013

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Comments

Leave my guns alone

You mention nothing about mental health in this country. It was no secret that there was something not quite right with Adam Lanza. His teachers all could see it from a mile away for years, however, because we must be SO politically correct in this country, we cannot 'label' anyone and mental health treatments are either too expensive, out of reach or cannot be forced upon someone who really needs it....like Adam did.

Maybe if Adam Lanza was legally ordered to receive mental health treatments along with his equally in need of mental health mother this horrific tragedy would have been averted.

Political correctness in this country will eventually destroy it.

I have only heard ways to keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens, not criminals. If you were to take away all guns from the citizens of the United States, I would bet the farm that criminals would still get them and the good guys would then be at their mercy. And if you don't think that we don't need guns to protect us from a tyrannical gov't, then you are just kidding yourself. I bet you never thought that the Sandy Hook shootings could ever happen, ...but it did. So I would not ever rule out that our gov't would not confiscate our guns and further control us, they are trying their best to destroy the middle class.

I would also bet that there are 10,000 other 'Adam Lanzas" out there sitting in their basements in America on the brink of snapping, and if they cannot get a gun, then a machete, a speeding car, a 5 gallon can of diesel fuel and fertilizer or some other way to hurt the innocent will be deployed.

People must acknowledge the 800 lb gorilla in the room that is mental health

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