Time to Speak — Living in a culture of violence

The headlines in a recent Sunday edition of The Courier-Journal jumped out at me. It said “Boy, 3, shoots, kills dad.”

How could this happen?

Sister Judy Morris, O.P.

The story indicated that the 33-year-old father left his .45-caliber handgun on a table in the home. As the family watched television, the young son picked up the gun, shot and killed his father.

There was no lock on the gun’s trigger. The man’s wife, their three children and another juvenile were present in the home at the time of the shooting. This tragic scene, which happened in Salem, Ind., is repeated all too often in our towns, in other family homes, throughout the country.

One simple precaution — the placing of a lock on a handgun when children are in the house — could save thousands of lives. There is no federal law mandating a lock on all guns when children are present in the home. Some states do have gun lock laws; others do not. This tragedy demonstrates how important a gun lock law could be. Indiana gun control laws are among the weakest in the nation, and the
state has no law mandating the use of a gun lock.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence notes that from January through mid-July, 53,289 people have been shot in the nation — in fact, 141 people have reportedly been shot on the day this was written. In the United States, more than 1.69 million children under the age of 18 are living in households with loaded and unlocked firearms. A study in the year 2000 found that 55 percent of U.S. homes with children and firearms have one or more of those guns in an unlocked place.

We live in a violent culture where guns are reverenced. Children and adults are dying in large numbers in cities and towns around the country.

Our voices need to be heard by our state legislators and by our U.S. representatives and senators. Our newspapers need to receive letters to the editor on the subject, and our pulpits need to challenge the violence that is so prevalent around us. Strong, common sense legislation, when consistently implemented, can save lives.

We do not need assault weapons, a “stand your ground” piece of legislation, concealed weapons or weapons in our schools and churches. We do need locks and adequate background checks and waiting periods for those purchasing guns.

For comprehensive information on gun violence and gun laws, please visit www.bradycampaign.org.

This is not a left wing agenda or a right wing agenda. It is a common sense agenda and an agenda for peace.

Dominican Sister of Peace Judy Morris

The Record
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