Look for ways to keep guns in hands of responsible owners

Dear Editor:  A brief response to the various letters regarding tightening gun control laws:

• Between 1984 and 2006 firearm-related deaths averaged 32,300 per year in the United States.

• Firearms are involved in 68 percent of homicides (32 percent for all other causes, including hammers and clubs), 52 percent of suicides, 43 percent of robberies, and 21 percent of aggravated assaults.

• Firearm injury disproportionately affects young people. Among the leading causes of death for those ages 15-24, homicide ranks second and suicide ranks third and the majority of both are firearm-related.

(From statistics compiled by the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control)

Gun violence in America is a problem. My premise is, in addition to other areas (mental health treatment, what our youth are exposed to in the media, how we treat gun-related crimes in the courts, etc.) we should look at gun sales and ownership, as a nation, and pursue ways to assure that guns do not come into the possession of those who do not live up to the responsibilities of ownership (i.e. the criminal and the reckless). To that end, an extra duty-of-care on the part of would-be gun owners may be needed.

That is not to suggest such hyperbole as outlawing guns, hunting, trap shooting, or other activities. In looking for ways to lessen the risk of future tragedies similar to Newtown (Aurora, Virginia Tech, etc.) all interested parties need to come to the table willing to discuss all options. Or as my dad used to say, everyone has to have some skin in the game.

Ken Vaselaar, Isanti

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