Recent articles have addressed our national tragedy of schools and mass shootings. Most worryingly, the leading cause of death among children is firearms. This alone should compel us to act. Yet we are trapped in partisan bickering that there is nothing we can do to stop this madness. Where can we look for hope?
Four decades ago, thousands of people died each year in impaired driving crashes. Yet, deaths related to drunk driving have fallen sharply. For young people, the decline was more pronounced. What caused this?
Mothers Against Drunk Driving fought for laws to raise the legal drinking age and penalties for drunk driving. Lawmakers acted and deaths declined. Beginning in 1982, the number of drunk driving deaths per 100,000 population fell by 65%. Impaired driving deaths among drivers under 21 have been reduced by 83%.
How did we find the will to act with alcohol and cars and yet not with guns? It’s not that we can’t do that. It is that we refuse. It is high time to bring people who disagree with each other into dialogue and action. There are solutions that will reduce violence and death while ensuring the rights and responsibilities of gun owners. It won’t be easy, it will be quite frustrating, but it’s time. Our children deserve it.
Canton of Bern