The Washington Post

Decreasing gun violence

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Working in public health, I hear stories every day of the lifelong trauma that survivors of gun violence, and frankly entire communitie­s, endure. My heart breaks for all those impacted by the 1997 West Paducah, Ky., school shooting, as described in the Aug. 29 front-page article “New cracks for a long-shattered Kentucky town.”

Though the details of this incident are complicate­d, it’s worth highlighti­ng that the guns and ammunition used by the shooter were stolen from a neighbor’s garage. Unfortunat­ely, this is not uncommon. In fact, according to U.S. government data, 76 percent of school shootings are facilitate­d by children having access to unsecured and/or unsupervis­ed guns at home or at the home of a close relative.

As we consider ways to prevent school shootings, let’s remember that responsibl­e gun ownership includes storing firearms locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition.

Colleen Creighton, Washington

The writer is director of End Family Fire, a partnershi­p between Brady and the Ad Council.

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