Gun laws do save lies

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The gun lobby and its followers claim that laws designed to stop gun violence fail — even in the recent wake of two white Americans using automatic rifles slaughtering 84 citizens and injuring hundreds more.

Turn to Australia (a country with a similar gun culture)which in 1996, after a shooter killed 35 people, banned certain semiautomatic rifles and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements. It also instituted a mandatory buyback program during which Australians sold 640,000 prohibited firearms to the government and voluntarily surrendered 60,000 non-prohibited firearms.

The country’s gun law reforms resulted in more than a decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides, studies confirmed.

In contrast, there are 32,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. each year and 283 million guns in civilian hands. Yet in fear of a lobby (that donated $30 million to Donald Trump’s campaign) representing a minority of Americans, our Congressional lawmakers do nothing.

It turns out that most Americans and most gun owners want some type of gun regulations and they want better enforcement. Whether you believe statistics or not — gun laws do save lives.

JAMES W. RAMSEY

Sandpoint

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