Letter: Elizabeth K. Hedges, Lovettsville

Editor:  State Senator Dick Black was among the officials Lovettsville’s Veterans Day celebration. In his speech, he mentioned the rising number of police officers killed in the line of duty, and attributed that to a lack of support by local governments.

According to the website Officer Down Memorial Page, so far this year 58 officers have been killed by gunshot, either deliberate or accidental.  Since 2013, when there were 33 such deaths, the casualties have increased 76%, which is a considerable amount.

There are probably several reasons for this, but one reason is the ballooning amount of weapons in our country.  The United States now has a gun ownership rate (both public and private) of 112.6 per 100 people.  This is the highest in the world.  The rate has doubled since 1968.  Great Britain in contrast, has an ownership rate of 6.6 guns per 100 people, and has had no officers killed by gunshot since 2012.  Five officers in Great Britain have died from gunfire since 2000.  (These statistics are from Wikipedia).

Our country needs to address this issue and require background checks before purchasing guns, and licensing of all gun owners, to reduce the horrible toll gun violence takes on our police officers and innocent civilians.  We require all automobiles to be registered and insured, and all drivers to pass tests before they can drive a car. This has not resulted in a “slippery slope” depriving qualified citizens of the privilege of driving a car. Similarly, closing the gun show loophole, and licensing gun owners, will allow citizens to still own guns but will make our country much safer for all citizens and law enforcement personnel.

Elizabeth K. Hedges, Lovettsville