Detroit – On behalf of the UAW and all my sisters and brothers, I want to extend our sympathies and prayers on this tragic day to the families of the 10 victims in Boulder, Colorado, shot dead in yet another senseless and unimaginable act of gun violence. This horrific incident comes just days after the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia claimed eight innocent victims.
One of those victims was a police officer, who came to work yesterday to protect his community. He lost his life in the line of duty as have so many other officers like him. I want to recognize the debt of gratitude we all owe to the thousands of police officers across this nation who take their lives in their hands every single day to protect us.
I also want to recognize the grocery store workers, members of UFCW Local 7, who acted with bravery and courage in trying to get customers and coworkers to safety. It is grocery store workers and other essential workers who, like police officers, have been on the front lines of this pandemic.
The violence on our streets and in all of our communities has become far too commonplace and far too many innocent Americans have lost their lives in these senseless killings. It is long past the time to protect the sanctity of life with reasonable gun control protections. I want to make it very clear here that I am not only a gun owner, but a gun enthusiast and I wholeheartedly believe in the right of American citizens to own guns. However, it is a right that comes with tremendous responsibility and clearly the situation we have right now in this country is not working. As a gun owner myself, it is very clear we must have common sense laws governing gun ownership along with the necessary education and safeguards to protect our communities and our brothers and sisters from these all-to-familiar incidents.
I also want to repeat something that has been an issue paramount to me and to the UAW for many years. We need to vastly improve our nation’s mental health services because most certainly, whatever the other causes and circumstances, mental health is a significant factor in these incidents of violence. We need more understanding of mental illness, more research, more financial resources and certainly more access. This, like sensible gun control, is something we as a nation can and must do.
So once again, through the tears of tragedy, I call on our leaders and our elected officials. We must put aside our differences, our political agendas and our fears and get this done. Too many innocent lives have already been lost and too many families and communities torn apart.
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