June Girard: Do the right thing on gun control
Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 4:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 4:06 p.m.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said, "92 percent of Americans agree that every gun sale should be subject to a background check. There is no excuse for representatives or senators who don't come to the assistance of those that they are elected to represent." I agree.
We are a republic and therefore our legislators are not subject to majority rule, rather they are elected to represent us to the best of their ability. It was assumed that they would have more information and understanding of an issue and that we could trust them to do the right thing for the citizenry when elected.
However, in this modern world information is available to everyone through a variety of technologies and each individual citizen now has a voice. Our elected representatives must recognize that and the overwhelming support for background checks.
I support the Second Amendment. I also support the right of congress to regulate the ownership of guns. All a private citizen actually needs to protect themselves is a shotgun or handgun limited by the amount of rounds it can fire at one time. And I advocate for gun use and safety training followed by a test before a gun license is issued.
Our forefathers could not have imagined the kind of weapons available today. Limiting private ownership to a shotgun or handgun would balance our constitutional rights with our welfare.
Assault weapons in the hands of individuals is a threat to society. A new ban on assault weapons is a no brainer. The book "A Guide to Mass Shootings in America" reported that in 70 percent of gun crimes committed since 1982, semi-automatic weapons were used. Most mass murderers did not have a criminal record. With these weapons a shooter need not stop to reload. When a shooter has to stop to reload he is vulnerable giving the victim or victims a chance to disarm him. Some states and many local communities are not waiting for Congress.
New York passed a law in January that expanded types of guns and requires new or banned gun owners to register them. The New York law also requires background checks for private gun sales and reduces magazines to seven bullets.
Colorado's law, signed in March, limits magazines to 15 rounds and expands background checks while requiring a fee.
Connecticut's law was signed in April. It expands the list of assault weapons, limits magazines to 10 rounds, requires current gun owners to register them, bans armor piercing bullets & closes the background check gun show loophole.
Maryland's House of Delegates bill awaits the governor's signature. It requires fingerprints for a handgun license, limiting magazine to 10 rounds and an assault weapon ban.
And Miami Democrats are pushed to debate gun control legislation in Tallahassee. Meanwhile local governments around the country have offered gun buy backs .
Ask our legislators how background checks infringe on your right to own a gun. Ask them to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets. And for heaven's sake, ask them to take the freeze off gun violence research. In this case, what we don't know will hurt us.
June Girard lives in Gainesville.
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