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Punish the criminals, not gun owners

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Tools such as hammers, baseball bats, knives and antifreeze are used to maim and kill people. There are no laws prohibiting anyone from owning any of these tools. We don’t hate tools that are a necessity of life, but we despise how they are used in crimes.

Guns also are tools used by hunters for target practice and in competitions. The military uses assault rifles to defend us. Police use guns to enforce laws and provide security. The Second Amendment of the Constitution allows citizens of the U.S. to posses guns for self-defense.

Fear and hatred of guns should not be the basis for gun laws. We want laws that deter criminals from using guns. A gun can’t hurt anyone until it is loaded with bullets and a person fires it. It is the bullet that kills after the criminal takes the action of firing it. I ask that we pass a law directed just at criminals who use guns to intimidate, maim or kill citizens. When a gun crime is committed, each bullet possessed by a criminal should carry a mandatory sentence of one or more years to be added consecutively to the sentence for the type of crime committed. If shots are fired, the punishment should be increased by twice. Lawmakers can tweak the punishment to fit different situations and to make it a stronger deterrent.

By using this kind of law, there is no need to ban the possession of any specific kind(s) of gun(s) or magazine capacity, because you punish the criminal for the number of bullets he possesses or could possess while in the commission of a gun crime.

This law will only be good if it is used by police and prosecutors as a deterrent. If made law, schools should inform children and their parents of the law and its penalties.

Legislators should remove the ban on “assault” weapons, magazine size and the need for background checks to purchase ammunition by innocent citizens. The criminals will never register their “assault” weapons or large-capacity magazines, nor will they submit to a background check to purchase bullets. These restrictions do not deter gun crime, but are an infringement of gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

Joseph E. Lamendola

Watertown

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