Letter: No more time for silence on gun violence

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To Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Gov. Paul LePage, Sen. Michael Thibodeau, and Rep. Mark Ives:

We have seen profound tragedy in Charleston, Roseburg, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Blacksburg, and Aurora, just to name a few. You are our leaders. I urge you to do everything in your power to pass common-sense gun-control laws, including universal background checks, a ban of high-capacity rapid-fire weapons by individuals, and a ban of the sale and possession of large ammunition magazines by individuals. In addition, we need more resources for mental-health care. It is sorely lacking in our communities in Maine.

I am an ordained minister and have served United Church of Christ (Congregational) churches in Wilton, Winslow, Kennebunk, and Phippsburg. I am part of the Maine Conference UCC, made up of 160 Maine churches, which supported an “Urgent Call to Prevent Gun Violence” after the tragedy at Sandy Hook. And yet Congress and our Maine leaders have done nothing.

I write to you as a mother whose daughter was in first grade when the tragedy at Sandy Hook happened.

I write to you as a mother who knows the grief of losing a son.

If the trajectory continues, we will have a mass-shooting gun-violence tragedy in Maine.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

I urge you not to be silent. I urge you to be courageous and once and for all, do something.

The Rev. Allison C. G. Smith

  • EABeem

    Exactly right. Thank you.

  • Chew H Bird

    The creation of a black market for firearms and their various components will stimulate additional violence and will likely entice people who are otherwise law abiding citizens to participate in what will become a highly profitable and illegal activity. We saw the effects of prohibition on alcohol decades ago. We see how effective (not) the “war on drugs” has been. Actively promoting a firearms based black market is probably the worst thing we can do to curb gun violence in our country.

    I agree with background checks. I also believe there should be mandatory gun safety training, usage, and storage requirements. However creating a situation where certain types of weapons are outlawed by definition is a dangerous component.

    Cars, (for example), are highly regulated in regards to safety and although our current drivers test(s) are feeble at best, there is at least some verification of competency required in order to drive a car on a public road. However, many people to build race cars in their garage and those folks can legally do so despite many of those vehicle being able to operate at extremely high speed and are excluded from any state or federal requirements for safety or competency. While these vehicles are (usually) illegal on public roads, they can be used on private land or any private facility that allows them to operate.

    The same should (in my opinion) hold true for firearms. Guns used for hunting on public land can be regulated. Guns used on private property should be excluded from any such regulations if you, (like myself), want to prevent a large black market from being created.

  • Thadeous Plinkton

    Don’t you fret none Revered we are going to do something.
    Were going to get the teachers and students educated, trained and armed.
    God can handle all the rest of it.

    Try to focus more on the why America has so much ‘violence’.
    The guns have always been here.

    And the NRA is the oldest ‘civil rights’ organization in America.

    • EABeem

      There was an armed guard at Columbine High School. Didn’t do a lot of good. If the NRA prevented a single massacre, I’d h start to have some respect for it, but all it does in enable.

      • Thadeous Plinkton

        That was long before the NRA got into the discussion.
        Even now if it ever happen they’d probably hire someone on the cheap like a Walmart door greeter. We need plain clothes not in uniform. They’ll be the first ones they take out.

        It can be done and done successfully but like mental health services no one wants to pay for it. They’d rather goo after the easy target and turn America into a full blown ‘socialist State’.

        Then like the U.K. they ban knives.