Following recent advocacy events on gun violence prevention, I was struck by how consistently our local news media use the term “gun control.”
“Gun control” is outdated and divisive language that mischaracterizes the intent of today’s gun violence prevention movement. For decades, the gun lobby has used the phrase “gun control” to evoke fear and paranoia that those who support legislative efforts to decrease gun violence in our society are somehow “coming to take your guns away.” That simply isn’t the case.
The goal of today’s gun violence prevention advocates is to work toward finding broadly acceptable solutions for what amounts to a public health crisis of injury and death by gun violence, including suicide, which makes up 80 percent of gun deaths in Minnesota. The goal is not to “control” the use of firearms by law-abiding Minnesotans, but rather to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them in the first place, such as felons, domestic abusers, and those who are at risk of harming themselves or others due to a mental health crisis.
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