In an effort to help you with better gun safety, the United Way of Door County has adopted a statement on gun violence and partnered with Virlee Gunworks for an event on Saturday. Gun Safety Day will be held at Virlee Gunworks Shooting Range in Sturgeon Bay and will include a handout of free gunlocks and information on gun safety and upcoming classes. United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle says her organization understands the value and importance of gun ownership while partnering with Virlee Gunworks to encourage gun safety and responsible ownership.

Gun owners are invited to pick up gunlocks for their firearms anytime from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, with up to 150 locks being given away. You can read the full statement made on gun violence by the United Way of Door County below.

United Way of Door County – Statement on Gun Violence

United Way of Door County is committed to creating a community in which every person has access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive in an environment that is safe and supportive. This includes identifying barriers that may impede the success of Door County residents in achieving this goal. United Way of Door County provides both programs and support so that we can build a community where all people can achieve their full potential through education, financial stability and healthy lifestyles.

We believe gun violence is a public health issue that as a community we must address in order to “enhance our collective well-being, improve and protect lives, and support a vibrant and resilient community.” (National Alliance on Mental Illness, June 6, 2022)

The threat of gun violence is real. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 45,222 persons died from gun-related injuries in the U.S. in 2020, the most ever recorded. This is approximately 124 gun deaths each day. While our attention is often drawn to mass shootings, those resulting in four or more deaths in a single incident, the reality is that mass shootings account for only 1% of all gun deaths. (Gun Violence Archive) Suicides, however, account for 54% of gun deaths while homicides represent an additional 43% of gun-related deaths according to the Pew Research Center. Wisconsin experienced 717 lives lost to homicide, suicide, accidents and other events in 2020. * Easy access to guns is often cited as a contributing factor in these deaths.

Firearm ownership is an important and cherished part of the hunting, sport, and self-sufficiency traditions in Wisconsin. We honor and uphold these traditions. Yet we hold in tension the reality that even firearms used for hunting may result in unintended consequences. World Population Review reported a total of 64,878 registered guns in Wisconsin in 2020, although many guns go unregistered. In an average year, 621 people die and another 1,093 are wounded by guns in Wisconsin. Guns are the second leading cause of death for children and teens in Wisconsin. Approximately 48 children and teens die by guns every year and 50% of those deaths are suicides, according to Gun Violence in Wisconsin,

We agree with the National Parent Teacher Association’s Statement on Gun Safety and Violence Prevention, “Practical gun safety and violence prevention efforts will protect not just our children, but all citizens from gun violence while at the same time respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. We must work together to end gun violence.” As a community, we can pledge to secure our guns safely to prevent unauthorized access which may lead to tragedy. Together we can create and maintain a safe environment in Door County for all residents and visitors by learning more about the impact of gun violence locally, regionally and nationally.

*By comparison, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported 573 motor vehicle fatalities in 2020.”