To the Editor:
In my early career as a registered nurse, I worked in the Cook County Trauma Center. Needless to say, this job was stressful. I cared for hundreds of gunshot patients monthly, suffering terrible multiple gun injuries and 80% were a result of interpersonal strife or domestic violence; they knew their assistants and did not press charges.
And yet, despite the stress and violence, I loved being a trauma nurse. In those years, the largest gun was a .45 caliber, a small bullet size that allowed us to save patients 99 percent of the time. It was very gratifying to save someone's life.
However, with the weaponry available now, we can't save many victims today. Each year, 36,000 people are killed by guns. There were 41 mass shootings in 2019 alone. And, according to the Washington Post, gun violence creates staggering costs for our country. They estimate gun violence costs $100 billion to $229 billion every year in lost wages, medical costs, higher taxes to pay for more law enforcement, and lower property values.
It is a fact that no one needs a weapon of war to protect themselves, their family, or their property. Here in Illinois, it is imperative we defend our successful gun safety measures like the FOID card and red flag laws, but that is not enough. Because of our proximity to other states with lax gun laws, we must lean on Congress to raise national standards.
That's why I'm so relieved to have Lauren Underwood representing me in Congress. As a public health nurse, Lauren knows that gun violence is a public health epidemic and she is legislating like it is. In accordance with campaign promises, Lauren secured $25 million, allowing the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to research injury and mortality prevention.
I am hopeful this research will yield life-saving discoveries and give data to change gun laws for common sense solutions to end gun violence, so today's trauma nurses save as many lives as I was able to, across our country.