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Far too many guns are in wrong hands

We can suppose the pro-gun lobby realizes the state of New York and the nation’s reaction to the massacre at Newtown is not a mere and temporary nuisance to be discarded by sending busloads of gun owners to protest to Albany and the American Congress. It underestimates the depth of the revulsion of America’s realization that there are just far too many guns in the wrong hands.

I know guns well as a former hunter and infantryman, and by age 30 I had shot just about every weapon used to hunt animals or kill human beings – but none since. I witnessed too many forgotten rounds in chambers and accidental gunshots that told me many careless people really should not have access to any weapons.

FBI files document that each year in America, about 100,000 people are shot with guns; 20,000 of them are children. Over 30,000 die violent deaths, and more than 60,000 are wounded. But medical records of gun violence are successfully hidden from public view through intense lobbying by the NRA.

These figures represent a large criminal problem of illegally obtained guns and portray both intentional and accidental carnage within our culture. But despite urban myth and opinion, licensed gun owners also perpetrate many shootings here with legal guns.

No current state or federal law seeks to ban guns. But at the very least we must have background checks that are valid, we must end gun trafficking and we must know who has exceptional arsenals and weapons.

We rational and responsible Americans demand a safe atmosphere, not this constant concern that we or ours are to be the next one shot. We Americans are a better people than it appears and we can do better to stop this culture of death.

Art “Happy” Klein

Tonawanda