Mass shootings in public places scare us.  It could happen to anybody, any time.  We are brought to tears reading about these tragedies, time and again.  6-year-old Stephen Romero at the Garlic Festival and 15-year-old Javier in El Paso were described as happy kids. We must remember their stories and we must work together to stop the violence. 

Preventing gun violence requires gun safety and as well as behavioral changes.   (Click here for more on behavioral changes)  

Action For Gun Safety: 

Safe Harbors: Mental Health America has a program to train retailers to be a safe harbor.  The retailers and firearm owners choose to be a part of the program voluntarily. Sometimes, people know they are feeling vulnerable and thinking about suicide.  It is smart in those times to choose to remove firearms from one’s home.  People want to do that.  Suicide is an impulsive act.  When the means to suicide is restricted, people live. Suicide attempts by firearm almost always end in death.  With this safe harbor program, people can choose to ask the retailer that sells firearms –and is participating in the program  — to temporarily store their firearms, away from themselves.

Red Flag Laws:  or ERPO,  or STOP(Severe Threat Order of Protection)  The intention is that when a person is dangerous,  appropriate others can have their guns temporarily moved out of harm’s way.  Arizona has some laws in place for judges and police to listen to evidence and temporarily remove firearms from a person if they are ruled to be dangerous to self or others.  However, those laws have not worked in many cases that ended in deaths. We need to fix those loopholes and develop stronger laws and enforcement to protect people.  These laws are especially important for domestic violence victims,  as well as preventing mass shootings. 

Background Checks:  Every purchase.  Every time.  We must close the gun show loophole.  Red Flag laws have bipartisan support.  But they will not work if a domestic abuser’s guns are taken from his home and the next day he buys a gun at a gun show that required no background check.  

To prevent violence, we need to look at the data and connect it to the stories, so that our solutions really do work.

– Mitzi Epstein, State Representative-LD18

This piece was originally written as an email; you can view the original piece here.