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After my recent writing on the firearms issue I found this in the local paper which sums up the situation and the Presidents proposals much better than I could.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama outlined a sweeping proposal to curb mass shootings and gun violence in America. The first thing to know is that the proposals do not take any legally owned, existing firearm away from anyone. The second is that none of them violate the Second Amendment.
The plan addressed both mental health and gun control issues. The gun control issues will be the most controversial.
The killing of 20 innocent elementary school children in Newtown, Conn., has shocked our nation’s conscience and made the status quo unacceptable. Adding more guns hasn’t worked. We’re not going to simply throw up our hands and say, “Oh, well. There’s nothing we can do about those sickos.” It’s time to try comprehensive, loophole-free solutions, and see if they work.
One basic question should be asked of opponents of these measures: Why do you need that? Let’s examine a few of the president’s proposals.
* Obama proposed limiting magazines to 10 bullets. Past mass shooters have had magazines with more than that. We believe Vice President Joe Biden’s task force could have been even more restrictive. A six-bullet magazine seems ample.
Why does any civilian need to be able to shoot more than 10 bullets at a time? In case a herd of deer come at him or her? Is your home going to be invaded by 10 burglars at once?
(And yes, we’re dismissing the cranks who think their guns will help them if the government gets oppressive and sends tanks down Glenwood Avenue).
There is a the-government-shouldn’t-tell-me-what-I-can-own impulse at work here. But if limiting magazines to 10 bullets can save even one person’s life as a potential victim stops a mass shooter as he tries to reload, isn’t it worth it?
* Obama proposed banning the sale of assault weapons. If this isn’t in the final bill, it won’t be the end of the world. Banning high-capacity magazines is more critical. Still, these weapons are more powerful than a revolver or some semi-automatic handguns. There might be merit to a law that doesn’t allow gun manufacturers to dodge it by making minor modifications.
Some of these guns, such as the semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, are among the most popular firearms in the country. Why do you need that, especially if your child or a mentally unstable relative could get a hold of it and shoot people, either accidentally or intentionally?
* Perhaps the most important part of Obama’s proposal is to require that nearly every gun sale, including private sales, must be accompanied by a background check to screen out those with mental health problems, felons and others who shouldn’t be armed. There are a few sensible exceptions, such as if you want to sell your gun to a family member.
Nearly 40 percent of gun sales don’t include a background check, according to the White House, so this proposal wouldn’t just close the so-called “gun show loophole.” Most of these background checks can be done instantly, so they are not a burden.
Too many gun rights proponents blithely dismiss these measures as ideas that haven’t worked before. In the case of both background checks and the assault weapons ban, the reason they didn’t work is that the gun lobby insisted they be larded up with loopholes, guaranteeing failure.
There were two things missing from the president’s proposal. In Australia, the government has had success at buying back weapons. Obama should at least propose a pilot program to do the same in the United States.
And as a recent letter writer pointed out, it’s absurd that there is no minimal, nationwide gun-safety training program required before people can own a firearm. If we require training for people to drive cars, which can be deadly, we ought to do the same for guns.
Congress should pass these new mental health and gun control measures. Please call your congressman and senators and urge them to pass the president’s proposals.


Contact information:
* U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield: (217) 492-4062 * U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Highland Park: (217) 492-5089 * U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville: (217) 403-4690 * U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria: (217) 670-1653

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