An Orange County educator talks about her reasons for supporting universal background checks.
I am a high school teacher in Orange County, Vermont. Every day as I look across my classroom I see about a third of my students wearing camo…these young people are avid deer hunters. I also know another third of my students are dealing with high levels of family stress, anxiety, and fear. Today, out of the blue, some students were talking about how anxious they are whenever there is a “lock-down” drill…and how last year it was real. We went into “lock-down” because there was a shooting down town, when the owner of a local business committed suicide. Now when we learn about school shootings we wonder when it will happen at our school. When I will have a gun pointed at me? How will I talk an angry student or a parent into laying down their weapon?
I have recently learned that in states requiring background checks on unlicensed gun sales, 38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners, and there is a 49% reduction in gun trafficking, and 49% fewer people kill themselves with guns. In contrast, when Missouri rescinded background checks, there was a 25% increase in gun related homicide. In addition, Vermont has the highest rate, per capita, of gun trafficking in New England, fueling the guns-for-drugs trade.
On behalf of all Vermonters…and that includes children and teachers…please do all you can to support and pass the proposed legislation that requires criminal background checks on all gun sales and transfers. This is the best thing we can do to make Vermont a safer place.
-- M.C., Orange County, VT