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Article published January 4, 2013
Address gun violence
Patricia A. Joseph Cranberry Township
I wrote a letter to my representatives in Congress, expressing my support for common-sense legislation to end gun violence. The senseless killing everywhere in America must stop. We need a plan to end gun violence now, not sometime in the future. Having been a public school teacher for more than 40 years, I can say that the violence in schools has nothing to do with video games and films. It has everything to do with the availability of guns. No one except police officers or armed forces personnel should own AK-47s, assault rifles, or magazines that shoot repeatedly in seconds. Hunters do not need them to shoot animals. People who think teachers should carry firearms or that schools should be guarded with armed police do not understand anything about public education. Furthermore, that kind of thinking about recent mass murders would lead to thinking that city streets, highways, shopping malls, movie theaters, parking lots, places of employment, etc., should be “protected” with armed police. But more guns would just lead to more killing of innocent people, of any age. We can prevent future tragedies by passing common-sense legislation that would: 1. Require criminal background checks for all gun sales, including private sales and at gun shows. 2. Ban assault weapons, including high-capacity magazines. 3. Make gun trafficking a federal crime. We also need increased federal funding for — and increased availability of — mental health resources for everyone — not just for those who have medical insurance. Gun violence also is a major public health crisis in our country. It must be eradicated.