Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu. AP.

Editor:

I was very disappointed that you chose to run the AP story today (March 17 2020) on Sales of Guns and Ammunition, on page 2 nonetheless. The majority of the story was focused on Atlanta???

These are very stressful times for everyone and to run a story like this in a community like Santa Monica is irrelevant and frankly irresponsible. The people that are scared and buying guns during times like these are very few and far between and/or they are first time gun buyers and DO NOT understand the risk of having a gun in the home, it’s just an impulsive purchase out of fear.

I think it would have been much more helpful, humane and a sign of community leadership, if you provide useful information regarding how to act rational in these times of distress, what folks can do to keep themselves and others safe. If you can’t fill up your pages with this type of useful information and you’d like to run stories about guns, then maybe considering running a story that provides useful facts about why you DON’T need to panic and run out and buy a gun.

Here are the facts everyone should know:

  • If you are going to purchase a gun remember the importance of SAFE STORAGE to reduce unintentional shootings and Family Fire
  • Lock guns securely, unloaded and separate from ammunition to prevent instances of Family Fire
  • Unsecured and improperly stored firearms in the home can quickly lead to unintentional shootings which injure or kill 8 children or teens EVERY DAY in the US!
  • Unsecured guns place their owners at risk – How? You are up to 2x as likely to be murdered. Guns in the home increase the risk of homicide in a domestic violence incident by up to 500% AND increase the likelihood of a fatal outcome in the case of a suicide attempt
  • 51% of all suicide fatalities are by a firearm
  • The risk of death by suicide is 3x greater for those in homes WITH loaded firearms than for those in homes with unloaded guns
  • Individuals living in homes where guns are stored UNLOCKED have DOUBLE the risk of dying from suicide than those where firearms are locked up
  • Keeping guns LOCKED and UNLOADED reduces Family Fire risk by 73%
  • Gun violence is estimated to cost the American economy at least $229 BILLION every year

To me, that’s a more interesting and compelling story.

As the stats clearly demonstrate, buying a gun is a very serious decision and very serious responsibility that not only impacts the gun owner but all those that live in the household with them.

California has enacted many gun violence prevention laws to keep us safe. I choose to live in California because we have one of the lowest gun death rates per 100,000 people in the US. Even so, over 3,000 Californians are killed by a gun each year of which MORE than 50% are SUICIDES (a lot easier when a gun is in the house) and guns are the 3rd leading cause of death for California children ages 1 – 17. What a waste…and you might even save a life if one less person had that gun in their home and/or it was purchased and not locked, unloaded and safely stored.

Jeff Peak

Santa Monica

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful response. I agree that promulgating the run on guns story was typical failing of “news” falling for the sensational rathern than the relevant.

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