Welcome to NC Voices, where leaders, readers and experts from across North Carolina can speak on issues affecting our communities. Send submissions of 350 words or fewer to email@example.com.
Want gun control? Try this strategy
The writer is a is a professor of psychology at Elon University.
I’m no expert on firearms engineering or policy, just a concerned citizen who has spent my lifetime around knowledgeable and responsible gun owners.
From this personal experience, one thing is clear to me: A considerable number of proponents of gun control seem to know very little about the firearms they seek to regulate and so often sound ignorant when discussing gun control.
Those in favor of expansive gun rights are keenly aware of this lack of understanding, making it difficult for Second Amendment advocates to take serious proposals to further regulate guns.
It’s time to stop obsessing over the nebulous term “assault weapon” and the cosmetic features that qualify a firearm as an “assault weapon.”
There is one functional feature of many “assault weapons” that, if regulated, could substantially reduce injuries and fatalities during mass-shootings — high-capacity magazines. A ban on such magazines would be a meaningful step to reduce the potential damage a firearm can cause in a mass shooting scenario.
There is no legitimate sporting or self-defense need for someone with proper marksmanship training to possess a 10-plus round magazine.
Creating a regulatory environment where the possession, sale and manufacture of such magazines could be phased out over time would be a substantial advancement from a harm-reduction standpoint. It could include a multi-year plan where low-capacity magazines would be made widely available to law-abiding gun owners before anything was banned outright.
Common-sense gun regulations (such as extensive owner training, licensing, and perhaps the registration of all firearms) that treat guns and shooting the same way we treat motor vehicles and driving are worthy of significant discussion. But this dialogue becomes challenged when the proponents of such regulation are fixated on the form of particular firearms, rather than their function.
Mat Gendle, Elon
Act fast on nursing care shortfall
Regarding “‘People can die.’ Staffing crisis endangers thousands inside NC nursing homes,” (March 27-28):
The writer is executive director of the NC Coalition on Aging.
Thank you for spotlighting the critical shortage of workers in N.C. nursing homes. Nursing homes are not alone in this crisis. North Carolina’s direct care workforce shortage plagues all settings that offer long-term services and support.
Direct care workers are personal care aides, home health aides, direct support professionals, nursing assistants and others who provide critical daily assistance. They provide this support in private homes, adult care homes, nursing homes, and a variety of residential care settings. They are the foundation of a system of care that supports our most vulnerable citizens.
We applaud the governor and N.C. General Assembly for taking a first step in the 2021-22 budget by providing one-time bonuses and increasing Medicaid rates for some services, with the intent to raise hourly earnings. But we must do more.
This vital workforce is continuing to shrink at a time when our population continues to live longer with chronic medical conditions. Over the next 10 years, North Carolina must fill over 182,000 direct care openings.
The N.C. Coalition on Aging advocates on behalf of the state’s 2 million older residents. Thanks to grants from PHI and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the coalition is presenting the Essential Jobs, Essential Care initiative to advance policy reforms for the direct care workforce.
The initiative is designed to transform jobs for direct care workers. It focuses on three critical policy areas for the direct care workforce: improving compensation, enacting workforce innovations, and strengthening data collection in collaboration with a wise, diverse range of stakeholders across the state.
North Carolina must act quickly to address the current shortfall of workers and develop a strategic statewide approach to increase the workforce pipeline by building career pathways, elevating skills, and recognition, and improving job quality and retention.
Heather Burkhardt, Raleigh