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Gun Violence Prevention Measures Save Lives

Charmae Sanders, Jacquie Johnson, Sid Mohn, and Stephen Slaubaugh , Letter to the Editor, 08/30/2022

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

The Race Relations Council and Interfaith Action are increasingly concerned about the high level of gun violence in our region, our state, and our nation. Every day we read new reports of one individual being shot by another individual in our towns and cities. We read reports of multiple people being shot at a shopping mall, a movie theater, a grocery store, or a place of worship; of multiple children and adults being shot at their school; and of accidental shootings resulting from lack of responsible gun storage.

We are strongly committed to supporting the adoption of evidence-based measures that have been shown to reduce the frequency and lethality of such violence.

A number of evidence-based gun violence prevention measures have been introduced, but not yet voted on, in the Michigan state legislature. In this letter we identify what we regard as the most important of these measures and explain why we believe their passage would enhance the safety of all members of our communities.

The first measure is Universal Background Checks. At the moment, background checks are only required when a gun is purchased from a licensed gun dealer. They are not required when guns are purchased at gun shows or over the internet. States that require background checks for all gun purchases have a lower incidence of gun-related homicides and suicides.

The second measure is Mandating Secure Storage of Guns in Homes with Minor Children. Multiple studies have demonstrated that such laws reduce the frequency of accidental deaths and youth suicides.

The third measure is Emergency Risk Protection Orders (“Red Flag Laws”). These laws allow a judge to temporarily remove guns from individuals who are identified by police or families as being an immediate threat to themselves or others. Such individuals would also be prohibited from purchasing guns as long as the order is in effect. On average, states with Red Flag laws have lower rates of firearm deaths than states without these laws.

The fourth measure is Banning the Sale or Possession of High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines (more than 10 rounds of ammunition). Multiple studies have demonstrated that this measure reduces the rate and lethality of gun violence.

We strongly urge all residents of Southwest Michigan to contact your state representative and state senator and demand that they vote to pass these common sense, evidence-based gun violence prevention measures.

Stopping the epidemic of gun violence and promoting gun safety are matters of life and death!

Charmae Sanders and Jacquie Johnson

Benton Harbor

Co-Directors, Race Relations Council

Sid Mohn and Stephen Slaubaugh


Co-Directors, Interfaith Action


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