We don’t want your guns.

I’m a photographer and gun violence prevention activist. For the past 5+ years, I’ve been traveling the country to share the stories of gun violence survivors and the family/friends of victims. While I try very hard to keep politics out of the photographs, I sometimes can’t help but get into it a bit online.

Here’s a typical conversation:

“Since 1994, the Brady Bill has blocked more than 1 million attempted purchases by felons.”

“Your gun-grabbers are just after control. You’ll never stop me from protecting my family..”

Or this:

“Gun reform - or whatever one chooses to call it - is about keeping guns from dangerous hands.. no more, no less.”

“Iif you take guns from law-abiding citizens, only criminals will have guns because criminals don’t follow laws.

With this in mind, I thought I’d create a post to say unequivocally to the gun owners and gun rights activists:

I. Do. Not. Want. Your. Gun.

Nor do I want to take away your right to have one — assuming that you’re the law-abiding, mentally-stable, non-abusive, reasonable, responsible person that you say you are.

No, I — along with countless others — simply want fewer needless deaths, fewer victims of suicides that could’ve maybe had a second chance, fewer needless injuries (both physical and psychological), and fewer families torn apart.

We believe that the way to get there is to make it harder for guns to get into dangerous, irresponsible, or mentally unstable hands in the first place.

We want what, in fact, around 90% of all Americans (and an overwhelming percentage of NRA members) want — universal background checks. Every gun, every sale.

We want safe storage laws. Not so the government can come into a home, demanding to see how the guns are stored, but so that there’s accountability and consequences for irresponsible actions.

We want so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Orders that make it much harder for people at risk of hurting themselves or others (as in, for example, cases of domestic violence) to get guns.

We want to encourage, not gag, medical professionals from inquiring about the presence of guns in the homes of their patients who they deem to be at risk to themselves or others.

We want more research into gun violence and treat it the same way it would treat any epidemic that killed over 100 people a day (Big win on this since this article was originally written.)

Seriously, it shouldn’t be this hard.

Will it work all the time? Will it eliminate all crime and will insane people stop doing insane things? Of course not. But common sense and all the best research in the land says it can only help… and it‘s without infringing upon the rights of the law-abiding gun owner.

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[Update: I don’t believe there’s logical or constitutional justification for civilians to own the kind of weapons of mass destruction that have been used in virtually every school, church, movie theater, and concert shooting.]