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Article posted: 2/14/2013 5:00 AM

Owner responsibility key in gun debate

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As a responsible gun owner I do not appreciate any gun control scheme that attempts to remove guns of any type from responsible gun owners. I cannot believe that the members of Congress are so naive as to believe that any gun laws will be respected by the criminal or mentally challenged. Therefore I must assume that those who aim to restrict gun ownership by the law-abiding citizen must have a different agenda then protecting the citizens from criminals or the mentally challenged.

With regard to the tagging of semiautomatic firearms with the term "assault weapons" because they look scary, Congress needs to acquaint themselves with the facts.

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1) The civilian versions of these guns have become the most popular firearms with sportsman. They are used for hunting, target shooting, collecting and home defense.

2) They are available in many calibers suitable for all types of hunting or competition.

3) The military versions are .223-caliber; the smallest and least suitable caliber for hunting anything larger than white-tailed deer.

4) Features like pistol grips, adjustable stocks, forearm grips, and flash hiders do absolutely nothing to make them more deadly.

A more effective approach would be to concentrate on the identification and tracking of criminals and the mentally challenged so that background checks would prohibit them from acquiring firearms. Background checks could be required for all firearm transfers including private. Gun owners need to be responsible for safe retention of their firearms through the use of trigger locks or gun safes. In the event of firearm theft, the owners need to make a timely report to authorities.

I feel the above steps would contribute to a reduction in gun crimes without penalizing the lawful firearm owner.

Joseph Spaulding

Schaumburg

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