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Archive for Monday, May 24, 1999

GUN CONTROL

May 24, 1999

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To the editor:

Your May 16 editorial, "Why Only the NRA?," which criticized efforts to tighten gun control laws is disturbing and puzzling. Surely no one is so naive or stupid to believe that gun laws in and by themselves are going to keep all guns out of the hands of criminals. But let's not throw up our hands and say it's useless to try to pass stricter gun control laws which can act as a deterrent or safety net, if nothing else.

Because of the loophole an 18-year-old friend of one of the alleged shooters at the Columbine High School was able to buy at a Denver area gun show two of the weapons used to kill some 13 innocent victims.

Yet when mandatory background checks for gun show sales was first brought up, it was voted down in the Senate 51 to 47. Our two senators, Roberts and Brownback, voted to kill the amendment in favor of one for voluntary checks proposed by Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, who just happens to be a member of the National Rifle Assn.'s board.

Fortunately, due to public outcry, the Senate reversed itself the next day and voted to approve a requirement for background checks before one could purchase guns at any of the roughly 4,000 gun shows held annually.

I am deeply disturbed that our two senators are so opposed to tightening loopholes in gun controls. After the school murders at Jonesboro, Ark., West Paducah, Ky., Littleton, Colo., and threats at schools across the nation, including those in our own area, one would think that our representatives would do anything, no matter how small, to make our schools safer, no matter what the NRA may say.

I am also disappointed that the LJ-W is so critical of the efforts of the president and Congress to tighten gun control laws. I hope it is not just because President Clinton and most Democrats so strongly favor much tighter gun control laws. Let's keep politics out of such vital legislation if we can.

Although many others, besides me, have spoken up for tighter gun control laws, they are frequently, and sometimes viciously, attacked by those who see every such effort as an attempt to infringe upon their personal liberties. I suspect that if one of their children had been murdered or injured at one of the schools, they might be less quick to attack those who chief motive is only to protect innocent victims from injury or death and to keep our schools safe.

Harold Piehler,

610 W. 29th Pl.

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