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Word Count: 1,549
Good morning ladies and gentlemen I first want to thank you for your interest in organizing your communities for gun control Before you begin to organize for gun control you should have a basic understanding of the dimensions of this issue Many members of existing groups believe that gun control is a unique issue one that invokes even more emotional gut-level responses than other controversial subjects such as abortion or school busing You may or may not find this to be true but you should approach the job ahead prepared for a wide range of responses ranging from apathy to hate mail and death threats To gain supporters for gun control it is not enough to merely present data- even information supporting only the mildest form of control Acceptance for any form of control does not rest simply on technical arguments about effectiveness rather positions on the issue are influenced heavily by values and personal belief systems Thus much of our energy will be devoted to changing these attitudes and beliefs- a difficult task under any circumstance When views are linked to concerns for physical safety they usually are unaffected by data and information Yet a gun control group must try to deal with these concerns How do we define gun crime as a social problem Violent crime that threatens or abuses the physical safety of its victims lies at the heart of the crime problem in America today In turn the use of firearms to commit crime constitutes a major portion of the violent crime problem Each year approximately 85000 American citizens die through the suicidal homicidal or accidental abuse of guns several hundreds of thousands are injured intentionally or accidentally hundreds of thousands more are victimized by gun crimes Wright Ross Daly 1992 Despite mounting evidence of handgun crimes and deaths Americans in general and public policy makers in particular have failed to halt this ever-increasing national tragedy These facts fail to diminish
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