Like other candidates, I've received multiple letters from gun lobbies demanding that I pledge to support their legislation "or else." In the wake of yet another school shooting, I want to take a minute to acknowledge three important things about guns to help you understand why I will not mindlessly kiss the ring and relinquish my freedom as a legislator for lobbyist support, particularly on the subject of guns.
1. In rural South Dakota, guns are a part of our lives. From hunting to farming to camping, we rely on hand guns and rifles for everything from feeding to protecting our families. Whatever solution we decide upon to stem the tide of gun violence, it cannot involve making it more difficult for responsible adults to obtain the classes of guns we use as tools.
2. We live in a world apart, but we are not immune to the wave of violence sweeping the nation. We cannot ignore the growing trend of mass murders. Instead, we should be grateful an extreme tragedy hasn't struck and work to make sure it doesn't.
3. Gun control is neither the beginning nor end of the list of changes that must be made to protect our communities from gun violence. But it must be part of the discussion. If we're serious about protecting our right to bear arms and keeping our children safe, we must avoid knee-jerk reactions on either end of the spectrum.
Gun violence is a growing public health crisis, and it deserves to be managed by legislative professionals with a background and passion for public health.
We can't afford to keep allowing professional politicians to secure their career by selling decisions on issue like this to lobbyists.
Whitney Raver is running for South Dakota State Legislature out of District 30. On paper, District 30 is the "reddest" in the state. But Whitney knows that Progressive roots run deep in her community. She is committed to uniting her community around common causes such as protecting the water, workers, and future generations from encroaching antisocial corporate interest.