The Honorable [SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE’S FIRST NAME, LAST NAME]
Capital, State Zip
Dear Senator OR Representative [LAST NAME]
I am a [PROFESSION/ROLE/TITLE] at [INSTITUTION NAME], writing to urge you to support the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in an effort to mitigate the devastating impact of gun violence across the United States.
From a public health perspective, expanding gun rights poses a great danger to the health and safety of communities. As per data reported in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics reports that gun deaths reached their highest level since 1968, with 39,773 deaths by firearm, of which 23,854 were by suicide and 14,542 were homicides. This is equivalent to 12.2 deaths per 100,000 population. This number does not take into account the thousands of injuries and disabilities resulting from gun violence. In recent days, mass shootings in Tulsa, Uvalde, and Buffalo have devastated communities and once again reminded us of the urgency of gun control. It has been ten years since the Sandy Hook massacre and we have done shockingly little to make our schools and communities safer.
Additionally, relaxation on gun regulation has been shown to lead to increases in violent crimes, such as assault and robberies. This has shown to cause incredible costs to the public. In 2000, the costs of gun violence in the United States were estimated to be $100 billion per year, not including the costs associated with gun violence avoidance and prevention behaviors. In 2010, gun violence cost U.S. taxpayers about $516 million in direct hospital costs.
Expanding background checks and requiring those who have a history of domestic violence (ex: closing the ‘Boyfriend Loophole’) will make our communities safer. Increasing the age to purchase assault rifles will be a good first step as well. We also must invest in mental health resources across the board to help prevent such massacres (although, let me be clear, most patients with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent crime rather than perpetrators of them). Many workplaces, including local hospitals and schools are currently running mass shooter drills. It has become obvious our most vulnerable community members (children and the ill) are easy and common targets for those with poor intentions. We cannot let this stand, we MUST keep our children safe.
The above statistics affect many on a personal level as well. ***If applicable, insert personal story or experience here.[ ] Personal stories regarding gun violence (community mass shootings, treating gun violence victims etc)
If you or your staff would like additional information, please feel free to contact me directly. I am happy to talk further and look forward to hearing from you soon.
[NAME, TITLE, INSTITUTION]
General tips for writing your Congressperson (source: American Psychological Association):
Direct: state your subject clearly in the e-mail subject line and/or letter introduction
Factual: personalize the issue and support your stance with facts
Helpful: offer to provide additional information and provide your contact information
Informative: identify yourself, your views, and the bill number(s) of relevant legislation
Constructive: remain positive and offer recommendations without personal attacks or blame
Appreciative: thank the policymaker for their attention
Inquiring: ask for the policymaker’s viewpoint on the legislation
Specific: provide specific facts, data, examples, and write in the first-person
Concise: do not exceed one page or 500 words
More tips, sample e-mails, sample letters, and links to your state’s Congresspersons’ contact information can be found at this page created by the American Psychological Association.