Letter to the Editor
Yes on 3 for Sensible Gun Control
In December 2012, I lived at the time in Fairfield, Connecticut, very close to Newtown. Both Fairfield and Newtown are peaceful, suburban towns. Bad things don’t happen in peaceful suburban towns – until they do.
I remember the day of the Sandy Hook school shootings. I was working at home that day, and I remember the slow, torturous unfolding of the horrific events. Shots fired at an elementary school. Six dead. Twelve. Twenty. Twenty-six.
Twenty children and six adults were killed that day. I did not personally know any of the victims and their families, but I knew people who knew them. One friend lived in Newtown and had planned to take his daughter to Sandy Hook Elementary for a sporting event the very afternoon of the shooting. Another friend’s sister was a substitute teacher that day, and her niece, a 3rd grader, hid with her classmates in a closet.
The shooter had earlier visited both the nearby Connecticut colleges my sons were attending. Had he gone there looking at their schools as targets?
I had always been in favor of sensible gun control and especially in favor of full background checks, but Sandy Hook brought the issue to my backyard.
Years ago, I lost a child who had been critically ill since his birth. He died pain free and peacefully in my arms, surrounded by people who loved him. And still, it was devastating. The thought of parents not only losing their children but knowing that they died in fear and pain was more than I could imagine.
I remember the following days of funerals, of political speeches, of tears and promises. I thought, “Certainly now we can get change.”
The Sandy Hook families went to Washington. They shook the hands of legislators. They asked simply for some small changes to prevent more tragedies.
And still, a Federal bill to strengthen background checks failed to pass Congress.
This November 8th, we have the opportunity in Maine to do what the Federal Congress would not do. Question 3 on the ballot asks voters to approve requiring background checks before a gun sale or transfer between people who are not licensed firearm dealers. It does not apply to hunters, sports shooting, family members or emergency self-defense. It has been roundly endorsed by law enforcement organizations throughout Maine.
Question 3 seeks to keep people who should not have firearms from purchasing them. Will it inconvenience some gun owners? Perhaps. Is it a cure-all for gun violence? No. Could it save lives? Yes.
I believe a small inconvenience is worth the chance to prevent tragedy. Therefore, please join me in voting YES on Question 3 on November 8th.
-Marilyn Miller, Portland