2000-03-04 / Editorial/Opinion

Demanding Gun Control

How many more lives will have to be taken before our elected officials realize that stronger gun control laws are desperately needed in our country? With the recent shooting of a six year old girl in Michigan by a six year old boy, supposedly resulting from a schoolyard fight, the gun control battle heats up again. This time, though, we must not quiet down, but demand that commonsense gun control legislation be enacted immediately.

Gun advocates, and organizations such as the National Rifle Association, constantly refer to the Second Amendment to defend their unlimited right to guns. The attempt is to not take away all guns, but to make some commonsense changes that would take away these life-threatening objects from dangerous and irresponsible people and prevent guns from getting into the hands of a child. And we must remember that the first pursuit promised by our Constitution is life…for all Americans. We must do whatever we can to preserve and protect life…especially for the 12 children killed by guns daily.

Even gun owners shouldn't have a problem with some of the present legislation being offered. Safety locks on all handguns and the "smart" gun, which is programmed to be able to shoot only by the owner, are good steps to be taken and should be passed by the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. President Clinton has already committed to signing this legislation into law.

Other commonsense regulations include background checks and waiting periods on any person wanting to purchase a gun--especially at gun shows, all handgun owners to be licensed and registered with authorities, and limiting purchases of guns by individuals to a fixed amount each year.

Then we need to really look at our criminal justice system. If a kid commits a crime with a gun, and kills someone, they should be tried as an adult. If a child uses a parent's gun, then the parent should be held responsible for the child's actions.

Corporate America and Hollywood also have a responsibility. Advocate anti-violence and start sending that message across television and radio.

And finally, we must support police enforcement and measures to eradicate our streets of guns. The NYPD Street Crime Unit has had its problems, but it is unparalleled in taking guns off our streets. We need some form of the Street Crime Unit on our streets, in our neighborhood, getting rid of the illegal guns that kill our kids and other innocent people.

There must be no hesitations or delays. We must lobby congress to make this happen now. It's a matter of life and death…

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