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Gun control policy

Oct. 18, 2000

Current laws ineffective, tighter standards needed

In the wake of Columbine and several other shootings, gun control has become a hot button issue in this election. Both candidates have spoken out on the issue, with Vice President Al Gore calling for tough new laws, and Gov. Bush saying that the current laws need to be enforced. However, just enforcing the current laws is not enough to protect innocent victims from criminals' gun shots because there are too many loopholes and ineffective laws that enable the wrong people to obtain deadly weapons.

The current laws need to be enforced. It is pointless to have laws the government does not enforce. But the lack of laws presents the greatest danger to the safety of the American people.

Gun manufacturers should be required to place child-safety locks on all new guns. This could potentially keep kids from accidentally pulling the trigger and killing themselves or others while playing with guns.

The age that one can purchase a gun should be raised from 18 to 21. One must be 21 to buy alcohol, so it makes no sense to allow someone to buy a weapon at a younger age.

Deadly assault weapons that are used solely to kill humans should be banned, and penalties for selling or producing these weapons should be increased. There is no justifiable reason for these guns to be available to the public.

Currently, background checks and waiting periods are required for purchases on all handguns. However, these regulations do not apply to guns purchased at gun shows or pawn shops. It is common sense that the same requirements for purchasing a gun at any regular gun store should apply to gun shows and pawn shops.

Everyone wishing to purchase a gun should be required to have a photo license that lists all the firearms they own or have owned. This could prevent criminals from purchasing guns and aid law enforcement officials in criminal investigations by giving them an easy, quick reference to exactly what guns an individual owns.

Finally, all laws that enable people to carry concealed weapons in or near churches or schools should be abolished. There is no justifiable reason to carry a gun near these places of learning or worship.

We don't advocate a ban on gun ownership in the United States, as many opponents of gun control claim. Good, honest citizens have the right to bear arms, but a society in which criminals have such easy access to such deadly weapons is a dangerous one.

Americans deserve safety from those that abuse their Second Amendment rights, and enacting these gun control measure will help to make our streets, schools, churches and communities safer.