Dear Governor Bullock,
I wanted to reach out to you to offer some feedback, but I first wanted to say that I am deeply sorry for your nephew's tragic death. No family in this country should have to go through such a heart-breaking moment. Unfortunately, far too many Americans share in that horrible grief.
In the recent Democratic debate, I heard you frame your beliefs around gun violence in this country around three things: 1. being a gun owner, 2. being a hunter, and 3. your nephew's death. You have every right to share the story of your family's grief in the way that you feel is proper, but I think you missed an opportunity to center the reality of gun violence in this country on victims, and not those who are centering their identity on a recreational activity.
In the wake of yet another mass shooting, this time in El Paso, Texas, I kept thinking about your words. Every American who sets foot in a school, church, theater, concert, or the local Wal-Mart has more of a right to safety than the right of a gun owner to own high powered assault rifles. Democrats must be the party that gets something done to prevent our country from being one absolutely torn apart by the grief of gun violence and mass shootings.
I can empathize with your position- you sounded like someone who has had guns at the center of your cultural identity for a very long time. I understand that identify intimately. However, my beliefs have grown and evolved as I have become increasingly horrified by the blatant violence all around this country, but especially effecting communities of color. As someone running for the highest office of the land, I ask that you reconsider how you phrase that identity- will you be someone stubbornly proclaiming your highest priority is gun ownership, and that to have a valid opinion you must own a gun? Or will you be someone who honors the life of all of those who have needlessly been lost on the alter of gun violence, and speak their names and concerns first?
Thank you for considering this important issue, and respectfully,
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