Editor of the Reformer:
I strongly believe that gun violence is an issue. Gun ownership is a right under the U.S Constitution, and I do not agree with it. The constitution says that we are freely allowed to own guns. Therefore, any citizen is allowed to own as many guns as they want. The more guns someone has, the more likely it is for them to be killed with one of their weapons or for them to kill someone else. According to Smart Gun Laws, "Three people die each hour because they have been shot by a gun. This does not include suicide." This means that one person in the U.S. dies every 20 minutes because they have been shot by a gun. I believe that if we strengthen the gun laws there will be less gun involved murders and accidents.
As a concerned citizen, I was wondering how many people die each year because of a gun injury or death. In my research I found out that "In 2010, 31,676 people died in the U.S. because of gun inflicted injuries." That means that an average of 85 people die each day because of a gun injury. This is a shocking fact.
The part that I feel most strongly about is the lack of gun laws in the state of Vermont. "Vermont does not require a permit to purchase or carry a gun and you do not need to take a gun safety course before you purchase a gun in Vermont." This means that anyone can obtain a weapon without a license stating that you have taken a gun safety course and that you have cleared the background check. A gun safety course is a class you take with a teacher that knows how to use a gun properly. In the course, you learn how to use, handle, and change the bullets in a gun. Vermont does not legally require these.
According to www.csgv.org "68 percent of gun injuries are caused because someone hasn’t taken the gun safety course or because they have taken the gun safety course, just not in multiple years." To prevent injuries, you should take the gun safety course every year. To prevent gun deaths in your house, keep your guns away from your children and keep your gun in a locked safe box, on a high shelf. You should keep your gun away from anyone who hasn’t taken the gun safety course.
I was also curious about how many people own guns in the U.S., and I found out that "An average of 27,000,000 to 31,000,000 people own guns in the United States today." This means about 281,000,000 people do not own guns in the U.S. This is shocking because "30 percent of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 20 own handguns, rifles, or shotguns."
There are too many teenagers playing with guns in the U.S. and accidentally killing someone because they don’t know how to use a gun. Talk to your teenage children about gun safety and keep your gun hidden. You could enlist your child in a gun safety course so they would know how to use a gun, if necessary. If you are a hunter and you use a hunting gun keep your hunting gun outside in a locked shed or keep it out of reach of children. If you feel like it is necessary to own a gun talk to your child about when it would be necessary to use that gun.
There are many people that think gun ownership is their right. Some U.S. citizens might say that "We are constitutionally allowed to freely own guns." They are correct but most violent crimes are committed with guns, thus, restricting gun ownership will likely reduce the number of such crimes.
I also think there should be a mental check required before getting a gun. People might say that "It isn’t fair to demand a mental health check. It’s a violation of my privacy." After the shooting at the Sandy Hook school, 58 percent of all Americans wanted to have a mental check involved in the process of getting and owning a gun. This is still not a law, because under the Constitution we are freely allowed to own and bare firearms. It would be risky to make a U.S. law that violates an amendment.
When the Second Amendment was first written, guns were less dangerous and far more slower to use.
Vermont has weak gun laws. I think this needs to change. You could sign the Vermont gun laws petition at www.petition.moveon.org/sign/governor-shumlin-support to help us make Vermont a stricter gun law state.
I hope that you help me end gun violence and have learned how many people’s lives are ended unnecessarily because of guns. I believe that if you help, the gun death rate will go down and there will be less gun related deaths and murders. I want Vermont to have stricter gun laws so that citizens would not be scared that they would be accidentally killed by someone that has not taken the gun safety course. I also don’t want young students to be scared that their school will have a school shooting because there is not a mental health check involved in getting a gun. Thank you for reading my letter and thank you for signing the Vermont Gun Laws petition I hope you take what I said into consideration.
Brattleboro, April 30
Drivers beware: Jaywalkers abound
Editor of the Reformer:
On Main Street in downtown Brattleboro this afternoon a jaywalking mother pushed her baby and stroller into the path of my car. I just exited Elliot Street and was heading north with my clients from Hilltop House. She tried this twice and I braked twice and then pulled up to her and her friend and suggested she use the crosswalk. She told me "You are as old as my grandmother, and I don’t want to be rude to you," and proceeded to walk behind my car and continue to jaywalk to the other side of the street.
I recall a woman from the south who got off a bus with her child. She was too tired to go to the crosswalk and jaywalked where she and her son were struck by a motorist and her son was killed. The mother was arrested for manslaughter.
I drive through town many times a day and jaywalkers are too many to number between Elliot Street and High Street. Is someone going to have to die before the Brattleboro Police Department starts giving out more tickets to jaywalkers, cell phone users and texters? Or is the police department’s only priority to go after drug pushers so they can get more money and praise? You are not protecting the community by going after the pushers. If you stop the supply, then those crazed withdrawing addicts will really be a menace to the community. What will you do then? Shoot everybody’s mother, father, brother or sister? You have to stop the demand first, then the supply will not be needed. Who is kidding who? You are not kidding me.
If these jaywalkers are so adamant about getting to the retail stores on both sides of Main Street, put in another crosswalk. I share the road and try to be patient but this is getting to be too much. What if all of us just did what we wanted to and thought we did not have to obey the laws?
Craig D. Newbert,
Brattleboro, June 6
Too many police cruisers in Brattleboro?
Editor of the Reformer:
Citizens from District 1 have noticed nine police cruisers in the police station parking lot at one time. Why do we have -- need -- so many cruisers? Why do we need any more cruisers with so many available and in our possession? And why are they all in the parking lot rather than out and about in town keeping the peace and preventing wrongdoing by their presence?
Isn’t it more fiscally responsible to rebuild engines if needed rather than buy new cruisers? Are decision- makers really thinking about taxpayers and providing services in Brattleboro? Or do they just want new toys for the sake of having new? It’s not always a good idea to try and "keep up with the Joneses," said these citizens in west Brattleboro. We can’t afford it.
District 1 Representative,
Brattleboro, June 12