Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Choose People

Congressman Pete Sessions,

Hello, Mr. Congressman. As your constituent, I wanted to address the issue of gun control. I have sent prior emails to you on this top since Newtown Massacre. But since then you and your colleagues have done nothing to prevent the repeat of that tragedy (or the 986 mass shootings that have occurred since [1]), I feel I needed to address it again.

I know that in Texas we like our guns. However, this is not an all or nothing situation, there IS a middle ground. Guns need to be safe and accessible to those who use them for hunting or protection. Strengthening the rules surrounding owning a gun will make it better for all - including those who own guns. In fact 74% of people who identify as an "NRA household" are in support of stricter background checks (2).

I am a firm believer in the right to bear arms, but let's keep in mind that the second amendment begins with, "A WELL REGULATED militia..." Regulations were, in fact, built in to the Founding Fathers' ideas regarding gun ownership. And a nation where more preschoolers are shot dead than police officers in the line of duty would not be one that was considered well regulated (3).

Often when these conversations arise, it is quickly shifted to the mental health of the person who committed the crime. Mental health is hugely important and access to quality care is in great need of improvement in our nation. However,only about 7.5% of crimes are committed by someone with a contributing mental illness (4).

One of the most concerning aspects of gun control to me is that research into gun violence has been completely de-funded since the mid 90's. The NRA effectively had congress ban the CDC and remove funding from research involving gun violence (5). We need to have empirical evidence on behaviors, patterns, etc. of these incidences so that we can keep guns out of the hands of those who intend harm. It is hard to imagine anything political about wanting more information on guns and gun behavior, considering 87 people die each day from gun violence (6).
I see that you are third most NRA funded congressman, congratulations (7).

Mr. Sessions, as your constituent, I am asking Congress to take productive steps towards decreasing gun violence deaths, especially those from mass shootings. Choose people over the NRA's money.

1. http://www.vox.com/a/mass-shootings-sandy-hook
2. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/24/5-facts-about-the-nra-and-guns-in-america/
6. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/16/16547690-just-the-facts-gun-violence-in-america?lite

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