Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne advocated for gun-control reform in an optimistic essay posted on his website on Wednesday — less than two weeks after the horrific mass shooting in Orlando that claimed 49 lives and left 53 others injured.
Byrne’s article took a global and historical view on the issue of gun violence in America and argued that gun-control reform can occur without disrupting Second Amendment rights.
“It’s not about taking away everyone’s guns,” Byrne wrote. “It needn’t be all or nothing, in other words.”
Citing numerous articles on the issue — including a New York Times report that found that “being killed by a gun in Germany is as common as being killed by a falling object in the U.S.” — Byrne called the United States a “war zone” and addressed a statistic that demonstrates how total gun deaths in Chicago have outnumbered American military casualties in Afghanistan.
Byrne also advocated that Americans look to the successful gun-control reforms of countries like Australia — where a devastating mass shooting in 1996 spurred effective legislation to curb gun violence — and he suggested that reformers attempt to reframe their cause as a matter of public health.
“I think reframing the gun issue as a public health issue — as well as an issue of our right, and our freedom, to live without a constant threat of violence — is the way to go in convincing our lawmakers, and more crucially our neighbours and our nation, to act on this issue,” Byrne wrote.
“The public feeling is already there,” he continued. “Everyone should not have the right to risk everyone else’s life and take away the freedom of others. We have countered these arguments before, from slavery to seat belts to smoking, and we can do it again. We’re better than this.”
Read Byrne’s full essay on his website.
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