Last Tuesday’s Press Herald carried a story about a 17-year-old youth who shot a handgun into a house in Canaan, putting a family in danger.

On Jan. 22, we read of an arrest in Waterville after an armed standoff during which a man holed up in an apartment with his 20-day-old infant and a loaded handgun.

A few weeks ago, the paper reported that a person previously convicted of domestic assault died in a police shootout in Casco after fatally shooting his housemate and stalking his one-time domestic partner.

Practically daily, the Portland newspapers carry stories of assaults, murders, accidental shootings and suicides involving firearms, usually handguns.

What these stories all have in common is the absence of any reportage on how the person who pulled the trigger got the gun in the first place. We read that a handgun was used in the crime, accident or suicide, but never learn where the gun came from, whether legally or illegally, or how it was obtained by the shooter.

The misuse of firearms in Maine causes a death or injury nearly every day. There is a statewide public debate over handgun safety and who should be allowed to have such weapons. This debate would be informed by factual information on how the guns that figure in these deaths and injuries are acquired by their users. Our investigative press is ideally equipped to secure this information and provide it to the public.

How about a new policy of the Portland Press Herald newsroom that reporters who cover Maine shootings should make a real effort to ascertain where the gun came from and include that information in every shooting story?

Such a policy and its results would be good evidence of our newspaper’s commitment to collection and publication of all the facts important to current issues in our state.

Peter L. Murray