Monday, December 17, 2012

Congress should pass legislation to reduce misuse of firearms.

I spent years on my high school rifle team, and indeed was once on the Los Angeles high school rifle team. I enjoyed trap shooting for years. I hunted. Like most Americans I see roles for guns in our society. I also believe that people who wish to own or use guns should be taught to do so safely.

According to Wikipedia:
There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides, with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths.
I find it hard to imagine that anyone would object to government regulating the sale of firearms to prevent defective weapons that might explode being sold to unsuspecting customers. We don't allow civilians to buy functioning machine guns. My point is that clearly there is a role for gun regulation even within the Second Amendment.

Most Americans agree that guns should be registered, that mentally disturbed patients should not own guns, and that criminals should be prevented from using guns. We accept inspection to assure that people do not bring guns into commercial airplanes nor government buildings. My point is that in our democracy, the majority accept the need for serious gun control in some circumstances.

It seems clear to me that 75,000 gunshot injuries and 31,000 firearm related deaths are too many.  There are too many horrors like that in Connecticut last week. I expect our Congress to review our gun laws and enact new legislation that will reduce the misuse of firearms. A good place to start would be to restore the law banning the sale to or ownership by citizens of assault weapons.

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