Letter: Support initiative to require background checks

December 13, 2013 

Letter: Support initiative to require background checks

It's been one year since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children between 6 and 7 and six adults were murdered. Grief was followed by outrage and calls for more effective gun control measures. A bill that would have strengthened the background check system, co-sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat, was blocked by Senate Republicans.

At least 11,342 gun deaths have been reported since Sandy Hook. However, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, the toll is undoubtedly much higher, close to 33,000, because reporting is sketchy. For example, suicides by gun are rarely reported. As a nation, we have done nothing to stop the mayhem.

We Washingtonians can do something to demonstrate our commitment to stem the tide here in our own backyard -- pass Initiative 594, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility's background check proposal (info@wagunresponsibility.org).

The gun lobby will fight this with an influx of money geared toward feeding the paranoia of gun rights activists fearful of losing their guns. The rest of us, afraid of losing our children, must fight back by ensuring I-594 gets on the ballot and then voting it into law.

RICHARD BADALAMENTE, Kennewick

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