Letter: Will state lawmakers act before gun violence hits home?



Orlando, Newtown, San Bernardino — who among us really hasn’t considered that Grand Rapids could be the next on the list? Who among us, as parents, hasn’t imagined how awful such a horrific event would be. It doesn’t always happen somewhere else.

Too many communities strengthen their gun safety laws only after tragedy has struck — such as Connecticut did following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But in Michigan, we have the opportunity to act before an assault weapon like the one used at Sandy Hook and in Orlando claims an unthinkable number of innocent lives.

So let us come together now and insist that our legislators do their jobs and pass a ban on assault weapons in Michigan. It needs to be a complete ban on the manufacture, purchase, sale and possession of these weapons, because background checks have proven insufficient at keeping such guns out of the hands of the wrong people.

Each time dozens of innocent adults and children die in a hail of semiautomatic weapons fire, the National Rifle Association pumps out propaganda about the need to have these weapons to protect our families and our property.

I have yet to read about any homeowner protecting family and property with a semiautomatic weapon, and even if such an incident were to occur it pales in the light of what we see happening across our country. Only our military and our law-enforcement officers have a need for such weapons.

We could call upon Congress to pass a nationwide ban on these weapons, but we all know that would be a complete waste of time. Unfortunately for all of us, based on the votes recently in the Senate, the GOP senators gave us a resounding “We don’t care!”

It is time for our state legislators to put their constituents’ best interests ahead of their concern for their own political careers. It is time for them to put our safety ahead of the NRA endorsements and money. We must require them to do what is right and pass a ban on assault weapons.

Our area legislators include:

  • Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Cannon Township
  • Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell
  • Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive
  • Rep. Ken Yonker, R-Caledonia
  • Rep. Chris Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township
  • Rep. Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker
  • Rep. David LeGrand, D-Grand Rapids
  • Rep. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids
  • Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Byron Township

I call upon these public servants to pass a ban on assault weapons. The question is, will they act or just sit on their hands? If they fail to act, they might well wake up some morning to find their hands covered in blood.

Robert Eleveld

East Grand Rapids

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