In the Wednesday letter, “Look at figures on legal abortion,” the writer suggests that we do more than pass “knee-jerk draconian gun-control laws.” He believes in arming voluntarily willing teachers and also says that abortion is a bigger problem for our state.
While I share his concern for our children’s safety, I disagree with his solutions. Gun laws are effective. Seven out of the 10 states with the strongest gun control laws also have the lowest rate of gun-related deaths, while states with the weakest gun control laws also have the highest rate of such deaths.
The writer believes that armed teachers would help prevent gun violence. However, armed guards at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Fort Hood could not prevent those unfortunate massacres. On the other hand, sometimes talking is more effective, as was the case at Union High School in Taft, Calif., where a heroic teacher and campus supervisor talked a bullied student gunman into surrendering to authorities.
Finally, by being a pro-choice state, Washington is able to appropriately and effectively address the problem of unplanned pregnancies. Thanks in part to sex education and access to more effective contraception, including emergency contraception, the abortion rate has been on a steady rate of decline, and publicly funded contraception has saved our state over $138 million in 2008 (source: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/win/contraceptive-needs-2008.pdf). Family planning institutions such as Planned Parenthood are largely to thank for raising our quality of life.
Since the Newtown, Conn., massacre, 919 people — including 64 teens and children — have been killed by firearms. How many more must die until we admit that guns are part of the problem?