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More Information on Gun Violence

And How to Write a Letter to your representatives

Some Statistics on Gun Violence

  • The number of mass shootings* in the United States has increased every year from 269 in the year 2014 to 692 in 2021 [Gun Violence Archive].
  • Since the PNWAC petition due date of April 15th, 2022, up to the drafting of this website on June 6th, 2022, there have been 120 mass shootings* in the U.S [Gun Violence Archive].
  • In the U.S., 64 percent of women who are murdered each year die at the hands of a family member or intimate partner. In situations involving domestic violence, having a gun in the home makes a woman eight times more likely to be killed [AJPH].
  • Over half of suicides in the United States are through firearms [CDC].
  • Approximately three million American children witness gun violence every year [JAMA Pediatrics].
  • The median age of school shooters is 16 [Washington Post].

*(defined as four or more people shot, even if no one was killed, excluding the shooters)

Writing a letter to your elected officials

First, let's be honest. Many of us don't know the people who represent us – at least not all of them. If you are going to take the time to write a letter, you may as well look up your state and federal representatives and send it to each one that represents you. Below are links where you can research and find your elected officials. If your state isn't listed, a quick Google search is likely to get the information you need as well.

What should you say?

Be polite and clear about why you are writing. Don't forget to explain why this is important to you. Maybe you have school-aged children or grandchildren? Maybe you have grown impatient with the lack of any progress while the problem goes unchecked? Maybe you have a personal connection with an incident of gun violence? Whatever the situation, don't neglect to make it personal.

Beyond the 'why' of your writing, tell them what you are asking them to consider. If there are particular pieces of legislation under consideration by the legislative body your elected official represents, be sure to reference them and encourage their support. Consider the following list when writing your request:

  • Mandatory background checks for all gun sales, including gun shows and private sales
  • The prohibition of further sales of military-style assault rifles (inc. AR-15-style)
  • The prohibition of high-capacity magazines
  • The extension of waiting periods to all firearm sales
  • The implementation of red flag laws
  • The expansion of mental healthcare as a guaranteed right and coverage to all persons
  • The establishment of a minimum age of 21 to purchase or possess a firearm

As you close your letter, be sure to thank them for reading and for thinking about your position on the matter. Consider requesting a response to your letter and inviting further dialogue.

Finally, remember to sign your letter including your name and address. Some offices will, more or less, ignore correspondence from non-constituents. Here is an example:

Your constituent,
Joe Smith
123 1st Street, YourTown, State, 12345
Methodists united against gun violence

How should you send your letter?

There are a number of different ways to send a letter to your elected representatives. Any method is likely better than not sending a letter at all. If you have the time and resources, send your letter the "old-fashioned" way for the most impact. Email, and particularly form letters are easy to ignore because they communicate less effort on your part. Using the links above, you should be able to find a variety of contact avenues including the postal address of your representatives office.