Navigating the line between police reform and increased gun violence and crime is not easy. Nor can we find a satisfactory agreement between those advocating opening up our society’s schools and businesses and those believing we need to err on the side of caution.
Fortunately, there is wriggle room between these polarities, particularly when it comes to the alarming spread of gun violence and the growing demand for public safety.
Mayoral debates here in the city may give the electorate a number of proposals and a sundry of solutions for the problem, and we know you’ve heard many of them, including reigning in the manufacturers, stronger background checks, effective legislation, stricter licensing for firearm purchases, even the enforcement of smart gun technology.
None of these measures, it appears, have done much to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in America, because none of these ideas stop the access to illegal gun possession. Added to the calculus of casualties are those victimized by law enforcement members who are legally empowered to bear arms.
Nearly all of the mayoral candidates have risen to the occasion and made public safety a key plant in their platform, and some of them are quite promising. And it’s good to see that plans for addressing mental illness are being considered by the candidates. We feel it is important to include the families of those who have experienced gun violence to weigh in on the problem and have them share their opinions on the issue.
It goes without saying that something has to be done to ensure public safety, particularly in those sectors of our community where gun violence is out of control. To this end, a concentrated study of the neighborhoods may be necessary to winnow out some of the critical problems in education, employment, housing and relations between residents and the police.
As we said at the start, there is no easy solution to this pressing dilemma, but we ask you to closely examine some of the proposals on the table from the candidates and that may help in your determination of the best candidate and the plan to reduce gun violence and ensure public safety.