Writer: Guns don't make society safer

To the editor:

A sanctuary is defined as “a consecrated place … and a place of refuges and protection,” according to Merriam-Webster. Declaring Pittsylvania County as a Second Amendment sanctuary has irony in that the act may make the county less safe for its residents.

Studies have indicated that people who own or possess guns are more likely to be killed or injured by a gun than a person who did not possess one. Firearm-related deaths have been increasing and have surpassed the deaths related to automobiles.

Since suicides make well up over one-half of all gun-related deaths and most people who are murdered are not killed by some stranger but by their spouse, significant other or other family member, the gun in their possession is the real danger for many. In 2017, more children under 11 were killed or injured by a gun than people were killed or injured in mass shootings, and more people were killed by accidental shooting than in mass shootings.

The Board of Supervisors’ action reminds me of a former age when the board and residents all aligned in opposition to a Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation. It is ironic that the photo in the Chatham Star-Tribune displayed “a lily white” crowd.

The Second Amendment does not guarantee an absolute right to individuals to purchase or own any firearm they desire. For 10 years from 1994 to 2004, there was federal ban on assault weapons, and the courts did find that ban unconstitutional. Even the late Antonio Scalia, a former conservative justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, acknowledged a place for sensible restrictions on firearms. The Supreme Court will be the ultimate decider on whether a law is constitutional, and the Board of Supervisors’ action will have no effect on that decision.

Elections matter, and on Nov. 5, the people of Virginia voted for delegates and senators who had stated their desire to enact some new measures that are modest and may begin helping reverse the increase in gun-related deaths. Elections are decided by the number of voters, not by acreage where people live.



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