Listen to this article

Our church, Wesley United Methodist in Urbana, recently held its fall seminar on “Guns and Society.”

We are living in a society that, in 2017, had a total of 39,773 who died in the United States as a result of firearm-related injury. But, to me the surprising statistic was that 23,854 (59.98 percent) were suicides.

A large number of those suicides occurred in rural areas. This is an area our Congressman Rodney Davis could help address.

It is estimated that firearm-related injury and death also present substantial costs to our country, with a total societal cost estimated to be $229 billion in 2015.

Dealing with economic conditions in rural areas that lead to suicides and gang violence in cities caused by the depressed economic opportunities that many people feel, is a good place to start.

His office could provide information on existing federal programs that would let people know of available resources for rebuilding communities and lives within those communities.

To fully address this problem, we need common-sense gun safety laws that included universal background checks, ban domestic abusers from retaining or buying guns, block sales of semi automatic, military-grade weapons, and allow research to be done that can lead to the most effective ways to create a safer society.

As with the death and injury caused by tobacco, the gun industry should be taxed to help compensate for the damage their product causes. Rights imply obligations.

RICHARD FLOOD

Champaign

News-Gazette