By Rev. Dr. Harry Eberts, Miranda Viscoli
New Mexicans To Prevent Gun Violence
The NRA has taken their predictable and morally repugnant disregard for the safety of our communities to a whole new level by using the COVID-19 pandemic to fuel the sale of guns and ammunition.
Their latest video shows a woman in a wheelchair holding an AR-15 with a 30-round magazine and a red dot scope. She is both a survivor of cancer and domestic violence. She warns viewers, with an apocalyptic flair, of the impending violent societal collapse of our country and worries that the government will come for our guns and ammunition. (Cut to footage of people of color looting stores.)
She argues that the only way you can possibly survive this complete breakdown of society is by arming yourself with an assault weapon. “Even liberals in California are lining up at guns stores because they know the government will not protect them.” She says this while looking through the scope on her AR-15. She asks, “Why are you stockpiling food if you can’t protect it with firearms? Aren’t you just stockpiling for someone else?”
Tragically, their tactic worked. Guns sales have surged and the boost that the NRA and the corporate gun lobby were waiting finally arrived on the coattails of the COVID-19 pandemic (sales of firearms have plummeted over the past several years). Americans bought about two million guns in March of 2020. It was the second busiest month for guns sales on record. Thankfully, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was proactive and deemed guns stores an unessential business.
But don’t be fooled. Guns in your home will not make you safer. The immediate and long-term effect of this spike in gun sales on our safety will be felt for years to come. History has shown us that more guns means more deaths.
Suicide, domestic violence, youth fatalities due to guns unsafely stored, and community violence will all increase. This, combined with a spike in unemployment, food insecurity and poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, puts our communities in danger of more gun violence.
What you can do to help stem the tide of gun violence during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- When checking in with friends and family, ask if their guns are safely secured and ammunition stored separately. All New Mexico’s students are at home. It is more important than ever to securely lock guns. A study by Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine showed that 73 percent of children aged nine and under know where their parents keep their guns. In addition, one of the strongest predictors of adolescent suicide is a gun in the house.
- On social media remind all your friends to lock up their guns.
- Help prevent suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255)
- Fill out the U.S. Census. By filling out the census we can help guarantee that New Mexico gets the funding it needs for gun violence prevention programs including suicide prevention, mental health facilities, and help for victims of domestic violence.
- Know you voting options. Go to NMVote.org to request an absentee ballot. You can request an absentee ballot for the general 2020 election through May 28.
- If you’re a gamer, go to www.Gamers.Vote and help get the vote out.