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Plain and Simple for Jan. 3, 2013 / December 31, 2012
I am probably a fool to waste my first column of the year weighing in on the debate over gun laws in this country, but never let it be said that I let good sense slow me down. I do not have a problem with people owning or possessing guns. We always had a rifle in my house when I was growing up and I learned to shoot at an early age. I do not think that anyone seriously believes that we will ever ban guns in the United States; that is a scare tactic of the NRA.

On the other hand, I think that the time has come to add an element of sanity to our gun laws. There is no real reason for a regular citizen to own an assault rifle. No one should argue with stringent background checks for handguns at the very least. Let’s limit the capacity of magazines for guns.

Ok. I hear people lining up with objections. We can keep citizens from having guns but criminals will always get guns. Well, lots of times criminals get guns by stealing them from citizens but, still, none of these laws would prevent citizens from being armed. None of these laws would prevent tragedies such as Sandy Hook, you say? It is absurd to argue that any law can prevent any act it proscribes. If that were the case, laws against murder, rape, or robbery would have ended those acts years ago and the jails would be mostly empty. Laws are attempts merely to make an act less likely and to punish the act when it does happen.

Of course, there are those who are taking the opposite side of the argument. They want more guns instead of fewer. They say that we can arm our teachers and our children will be safer. Already, Utah and Arizona are having classes to train teachers to carry weapons and Virginia is talking about a law to arm teachers.

Let me calmly discuss this option. It is the height of stupidity. Think of one population that has impulse control almost as low as sociopaths and the criminally insane. I would guess teenagers. Throw in teachers packing heat and you have a volatile situation. Or consider this scenario: a school full of elementary age children who know there are guns around. I know that not a single one of them would be tempted, in the whole United States, to look around for a gun to look at it. Finally, studies among police in Los Angeles and New York who fired their weapons in emergency situations found that the highest percentage of hits was less than 40%. Would you want your child to be in the hallway while teachers were firing bullets when police have that kind of accuracy? I am not even raising the issue that, in most instances, there is not time to grab a weapon to return fire. After all, the first person Adam Lanza killed had a gun permit and guns aplenty—his mother.

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