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Where We Stand: Allowing gun lobbyist to speak at school is tone deaf!

How offensive! How insensitive! How tone deaf!

On April 19, 2023 sponsored by the Gold Nugget Republican Women Federation, a gun Lobbyist, Sam Paredes, will speak at the Sierraville School.

Yes, a gun lobbyist speaking at the Historic Elementary School. Yes, it is a public community venue now, but the optics and messaging are irresponsible.

Gun violence is a public health crisis. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children under the age of 19.

Gun right advocates have shown us time and time again that though these atrocities elicit their outrage, they fail to take steps toward preventing more gun violence. No matter the carnage; no matter the numbers lying dead. And the impact of their failures is devastating and long-lasting.

Ask the countless American communities who were robbed of their safe spaces by gun violence over the past two-decades.

Ask families from the schools that have been traumatized by a school shooting.

Ask the tens of thousands of individuals who lost a loved one to suicide by firearm this year. Six out of every 10 gun deaths are suicides. And access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide. In fact, gun suicides are concentrated in states with high rates of gun ownership.

This is a gun issue. Don’t conflate it with mental illness. The data shows that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent. The answer to a national problem with guns is not to stigmatize people with mental illnesses.

The answer to a national problem with guns is not to increase access to guns.

Ask the over 4.5 million women whose lives have been threatened by an intimate partner with a gun.
Ask the people who are victims of the 10,300 hate crimes involving a firearm in the United States each year—more than 28 each day.

Ask the families, neighbors and countless Americans who have witnessed these horrendous acts.

The answer is laws that promote safe gun storage; expand background checks; raise the age limit on ownership; track unlawful attempts to purchase firearms; support Extreme Risk Protection Order laws; and ban weapons that can do mass destruction in a short period of time. These laws can prevent suicides, deaths by firearms, and reduce the risks to others and protect our children at school.

The second amendment comes with a huge responsibility. A responsible gun owner should be advocating for public safety. They shouldn’t be eating BBQ while sitting in one of the most sacred safe environments once provided for children while listening to a gun lobbyist not offering meaningful gun reform solutions to protect our children who are not afforded such safety now.

Concerned Sierra County residents.

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