Raising Awareness on Gun Safety
by Mary Sacksteder, Indivisible Worcester
Indivisible Worcester recently hosted a presentation by the Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition (FGSC), a Massachusetts-based 501(C)(3) organization. FGSC represents gun owners and others who work to reduce gun violence through education and legislation.
I started the presentation feeling protected by Massachusetts' restrictive firearm laws. That illusion was quickly shattered. Statistics show that around 140,000 guns are legally sold annually in Massachusetts. But legally purchased weapons account for only part of the weapons circulating in the Commonwealth. There is a loophole that permits weapons banned by law in Massachusetts to be owned when the weapon was purchased before stricter laws were enacted in 1994.
From the presentation I learned how rapid-fire weapons proliferate in our state and the country as a whole. I now overwhelmingly support the Coalition’s belief that a ban on semi-automatic mechanisms in firearms will reduce gun violence. I also learned why destroying weapons is the only way to get them out of circulation. When police offer gun buy-back programs, for example, they often sell the weapons to others. The FGSC funded their own gun buy-back effort in 2018, destroying 90 weapons.
Time for Action
Prior to our meeting with FGSC, Ann Stone of FGSC gifted me this link to this Washington Post Article. I cried my way through the article. I can't stop crying, thinking of the children, their fear, their pain, the hopelessness of their confrontation with a killing machine. I don't understand the cruelty of wanting to own, let alone use, such a weapon. What have we become as a species?
My grandson told me the other day that a child was expelled from Sullivan Middle School in Worcester for bringing a gun to school. My grandson goes to school in that building. With more shootings so far this year than there have been days, no one can feel safe. I fear for all my grandchildren, ages 11, 8 and 5. Our government is failing to do its job. We have to hold it accountable. That is OUR job. I feel better able to do that after the FGSC presentation.
Indivisible Worcester will work with FGSC to raise awareness of the enormous human, societal, and economic costs of gun violence, the depth of influence and control by gun lobbies and gun manufacturers on legislation, and the weakness of current gun laws and their enforcement. FGSC works with Representative David Linsky of Natick every year as he submits a bill to ban assault weapons. The current bill is H.2358. We can support this work by contacting our own state legislators and urging them to co-sponsor the bill.
Indivisible Worcester will also provide literature designed by FGSC at our voter registration tables, at farmer's markets, festivals, and churches this year. Together we hope to protect our fellow residents, and especially our students, from gun violence in Massachusetts. For further information on how you can help, check the FGSC action page.