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Weighing heavy on my mind.

For too long the discourse about guns has been drawn along hard and fast lines, but it has come time for us to seek points of agreement between those who support the Second Amendment and those who call for gun control. Can we not bring together people on both sides of the issue who are concerned about the misuse of firearms?

According to statistics compiled by the nonprofit group Gun Violence Archive, there were 36 mass shootings in the US in the first 23 days of 2023, with a total of 2,679 deaths in the same period attributed to gun violence. No responsible gun owner would want to see guns used in such a fashion. This is just one point of agreement between two factions with very different points of view. Surely we can find more than one.

But the more I think about it, the more I think we need to draw up a list of “trigger words” before even trying to discuss this.  By this I mean words such as Liberal... Right-Wing... Black… Illegal aliens… Democrat… Republican... Gun control... These words and their synonyms and their ilk should be banned from the initial discussion, because people on both sides often close their minds and stop listening altogether as soon as they hear them. Both sides are guilty of this, and it’s sad to see people shouting at each other rather than listening and trying to come to a consensus about even ONE teensy thing to do to help make our streets and schools and homes safer.

This is not a right wing vs left wing issue, or a blue state vs red state issue – it is an issue that affects people of every race, religion, economic status, and political persuasion. It is a human issue. Let us call together reasonable people to seek ways to have safer streets and schools while still preserving the legitimate rights of gun owners.

I know there are a host of organizations who are concerned about this issue and the many factors that feed into the problem. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could form a coalition comprised of one representative from each of these organizations who would agree to set and abide by ground rules for keeping the discussion civil and focused not on disputing but on finding constructive approaches to address the violence in our community from the ground up? By limiting the size of the group we could get more done, yet by having wide representation we could ensure that all viewpoints are heard.

Can we as Americans – as citizens of this country and of North Carolina – sit down together and find a reasonable and respectful approach?

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