Thank you for publishing “Gun deaths are a public health crisis” by Randy Ihara in your Jan. 17 issue. Ihara rightly points out the serious public health crisis facing our country when it comes to gun violence. The voters spoke in November 2019 when they overwhelmingly elected a gun sense majority that is committed to ensuring public safety.
A poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University shows that Virginia voters strongly support improving our gun laws. Eighty-six percent of voters strongly support requiring background checks on all gun sales. I applaud our state Senate for already passing legislation guaranteeing criminal background checks for every gun sale.
According to data we obtained from the state, from 2007 to 2016, we’ve lost 142 lives to suicide with a firearm in Loudoun County. The most common method of suicide in our community is a gun. Nearly half (about 48%) of all suicides in our community use a firearm. An Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law would give family members and law enforcement a tool to use to save lives.
Seventy-three percent of voters support extreme ERPO laws, which allow law enforcement and family members to petition for removal of firearms when someone is at risk of harming themselves or others.
ERPO laws have already saved lives and have held up in court in the 17 states that have passed them. We hope our legislature will pass a strong ERPO law that includes family members and caregivers.
Our children and communities deserve better, and we at Moms Demand Action in Loudoun County are committed to electing and supporting local, state and federal level legislators who will vote for safer communities and commonsense gun reform. Our movement includes mothers and many others – including fathers, grandparents, other family members, and gun owners – who simply want commonsense gun reforms. You can get involved by texting READY to 64433.