Readers Write: Gun-safety steps long overdue

The Island Now

Another day, and sadly another day of gun violence. It is rampant and devastating to read about the daily reports of senseless crimes due to gun possession. Suicides, domestic violence, gang shootouts, hate crimes, racism, the anger and frustration produced by the pandemic and police brutality. 

Massacres, single shootings in schools, places of worship, beauty salons and even in plain sight when a gunman brutally shot two newscasters on television.  Whether it be a massacre or a single shooting, one death due to gun possession is one death too many. Now, other innocent lives have been severed at a Nassau County supermarket.  

Those who know me, know that I have been a lifelong gun safety advocate.

I worked hard to elect Carolyn McCarthy to Congress after her husband was shot in the 1993 Long Island Railroad massacre. I have continually supported gun safety legislation.

In December 2008 I transitioned from a gun safety advocate to a survivor and an activist because I now had a vested interest. Our daughter was murdered by a teenaged burglar in possession of a stolen handgun. 

My heart goes out to all of those people who lost a loved one due to these horrific, senseless crimes. I know the pain that other survivors like me have experienced.  This is America. We are supposed to be a peace-loving nation, yet we have become a nation of violence. 

Basically, I believe these are the reasons for these crimes. The lack of legislation such as a universal background check and a “red flag” law. However, we will never achieve those goals without the representation of our elected officials.

I wish America would follow Australia’s example. In 1996, following high-profile killing sprees, their federal government initiated strict legislation on gun ownership. 

Gun violence is a health and moral issue.

At opposite ends of the spectrum are the pro-gun activists versus the gun-safety activists. They each have their own organizations to support their philosophy.

While I would never even consider owning a gun, I recognize there are those who are hunters and hunting is a source of their food and recreation. That is their right. However, there are also the rights of people to expect to live their lives safely.

As much as I would like to eradicate, the plethora of gun violence deaths, I do not think it will ever happen. However, I think there are steps to be taken to diminish these senseless deaths.

On an educational level: create programs in schools emphasizing respect for diversity, create a national advertising program regarding the risks of gun ownership and emphasizing gun safety, allow doctors/pediatricians to talk to their patients about gun ownership, invest in a community-based anti-violence program and create “consciousness-raising” seminars for the police.

On a legislative level: repeal conceal-carry permits, repeal “Stand Your Ground Law,” end immunity for gun manufacturers, invest in”smart guns,” enact universal background checks, expand the work of “violence interrupters” end the gun-show loophole, ban assault weapons to civilians, enact federal safe storage legislation.

It may be unorthodox, however, why not create a project to coordinate meetings between responsible gun owners and gun safety advocates to determine agreed support for gun safety candidates and legislative issues that can be enacted.

I do not expect all of the above measures to be implemented. However, if our society can take thoughtful steps to initiate some measures to stop these senseless crimes, we will move forward towards saving lives, not destroying them.

Lois A.Schaffer

Great Neck,

The writer is the author of “The Unthinkable: Life, Loss anda Mother’s Mission to Ban Illegal Guns,” and soon to be published, “From Bullet to Bullhorn.”


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