Yahoo News asked readers and contributors to briefly respond to passages from Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Here's one reaction.
Obama on gun violence: "It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans - Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment - have come together around commonsense reform - like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun."
My response: I have lived in Reading, Pa., for many years. The amount of gun violence in this area has increased dramatically during the past few decades.
Statistics that are routinely cited regarding guns and violent crimes don't include all unreported crimes, which hints at the heart of this matter. People are afraid and feel powerless.
Commonsense reforms will take place when enough individuals and groups contact their local, state and federal officials and demand action. Then, after those efforts have been made, the general public must remain vigilant within the political process.
Gun violence within our society will only be reduced when a committed segment of the population relentlessly pursues sound solutions.
Sean O'Brien has written for Yahoo Contributor Network since February 2011.