Letter: Why I’m wearing orange

In Michigan, you are more likely to die by gun than in a traffic accident.

This level of gun violence is unacceptable. That’s why I’m wearing orange today to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day. This second annual day grew out of the efforts of a group of Chicago teens who asked classmates to honor their murdered friend by wearing orange — the color that hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves.

As a mother, I want my two young daughters to grow up without the ever-present threat of gun violence. As a candidate for the Michigan House of Representative serving the 40th district, I want to see our state enact commonsense measures to keep our communities safer from shootings, suicide by gun and tragedies involving children and firearms.

Michigan can do better. We can enact sensible laws that will reduce the level of gun fatalities while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Today in Michigan, convicted felons, domestic abusers, even terrorists can legally buy a rifle online or from a gun show vendor who’s not federally licensed — with no background check. This is not acceptable.

It’s also unacceptable that the gun lobby is trying to push through legislation that would make it legal for non-law enforcement individuals to carry loaded, concealed weapons in our K-12 schools, among other sensitive locations. We owe it to our children to respect the sanctity of a safe learning environment. We also owe it to our youngest citizens to enact Child Access Prevention laws to reduce the tragic incidents of children accessing an unsecured firearm and using it to kill or injure themselves or others.

Today, I’m wearing orange to bring awareness to the epidemic of gun violence facing our country, our state and our region because that awareness is the first step toward finding a solution.

Nicole Bedi,

candidate for state representative

Michigan’s 40th district