Nine years have passed since the Sandy Hook shooting killed 20 children. Our grandson was the same age as the victims. We assured him that he was safe in Maine. Adults would protect him.

A makeshift memorial with crosses for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre stands outside a home in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2013, the one-year anniversary of the shootings. Robert J. Bukaty/Associated Press, File

That promise has been broken. The threat seems to have worsened. School shootings have become commonplace. We briefly focus on the horror, speculate on the motive and move along.

The facts remain: Gun violence is the leading cause of injury and death for American children and teens. In 2021, according to Education Week, there have been 30 school shootings in the U.S., with 60 injuries or deaths. Only half of all gun owners store weapons securely, according to public health researchers.

Sensible solutions are well known. Weapons need to be safely secured and kept from children, criminals and unstable people. Enacting extreme-risk laws enables families and the police to temporarily confiscate weapons from those who present a threat. (Maine does not have this regulation.) Background checks, supported by at or near 90 percent of the population, close loopholes and keep firearms from those who should not possess them. Troubled students and their families need preventive services.

Over the past few year, our children have experienced trauma and emotional problems related to the pandemic. Ignoring preventable gun violence is not acceptable. Other countries have taken actions to protect children. Americans do not love our children any less.

Schools should provide a safe environment where children can grow and learn free of fear. We cannot delay addressing this ongoing emergency. Contact our legislators and demand reasonable, responsible changes.

Therese Johnson

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