To the editor:
In a recent post, Fred Causley suggested groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have painted a picture that Oklahoma has “regressed” to the days of the “Wild West” by enacting Permitless Carry. Actually, the true historical “Wild West” may better serve as an example of public gun safety laws. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “contrary to the popular imagination, bearing arms on the frontier was a heavily regulated business.” In fact, in many famous towns like Tombstone and Dodge City, people had to check in their gun with a law officer before being allowed to enter.
Moms Demand Action may have a name that Causley feels the need to make fun of, but this is a serious issue. According to a five year average of CDC data from 2013-2017, Oklahoma has the 9th highest rate of gun deaths in the country and gun deaths are the second leading cause of death for children and teens in our state. Yet, instead of taking action, our elected officials made it easier for untrained people to carry guns in public. Across our nation, school shootings continue to rise, children die weekly from access to unsecured guns, loved ones are shot and killed in domestic violence situations, firearm suicides continue to climb, and there is no action from our leaders. Their refusal to put money towards research, let alone consider common sense gun laws, has caused deep grief for some of us and led us to join together to “demand” better of our country.
Volunteers in Moms Demand Action consist of people who respect the Second Amendment, yet also realize that firearm safety laws can save lives and there is nothing unconstitutional about that. Their membership consists of not just moms but men, women, veterans, law officers, students, gun owners, non-gun owners, as well as members of different political parties.
Whether Permitless Carry contributed to recent gun mishaps and deaths in Oklahoma, I am not sure anyone has enough information to prove it did or didn’t and I don’t think Causley’s belief that, “bad things do happen” is good enough for Oklahomans. Over 80% of us believe that permits are necessary and it’s a shame our elected officials voted against the wishes of their constituents. Luckily, Moms Demand Action volunteers and other concerned citizens will be watching the legislature next year and then taking their opinions to the polls in November 2020. We will also continue to reach out to gun violence survivors and encourage gun owners to keep their guns secure and out of the reach of children.