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Local View: More people with guns will not make us safer

From the column: "Now is the time for our lawmakers to man up and to have the backbone to take a pro-life stance for all our citizens."

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John Darkow / Cagle Cartoons
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I am a gun owner. I am a hunter. I am also a physician who has devoted his career to preserving life and limiting illness, injury, and suffering.

As Will Hurd, former Republican U.S. representative from Texas, recently wrote, “Since 2009, 1,565 Americans have been killed in mass shootings. That’s more than the number of U.S. Military personnel killed in hostile action in Afghanistan over the same period.” During that same time, gun ownership in the U.S. multiplied many times. Clearly, gun ownership has not led to an increase in safety nor reduced the incidence of mass shootings. To still claim that more people with weapons will make us safer is insane.

During the time of the Great Plague, the clergy, who then carried the greatest civic influence, voiced their policy as, “Resign yourselves to suffer and die. The church has prayers for the dead.” The Republican Party, with its facetious “thoughts-and-prayers” litany has apparently adopted this medieval solution and tacitly has become the Party of Carnage.

We can do better. We no longer live in the Dark Ages. We can and should take measures to reduce deaths by guns. It won’t be easy, but with commitment it can have an effect. We no longer accept deaths by car and have come a long way in past decades to limit that without taking away our freedom to drive.

Specific legislation should include raising the minimum age to purchase certain guns to 21, expanding background checks to cover private sales, encouraging safe gun storage and punishing people who fail to secure guns from children and criminals, banning the sales of large-capacity magazines, expanding red-flag laws to remove guns from people in crisis, and banning so-called assault weapons.

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Now is the time for our lawmakers to man up and to have the backbone to take a pro-life stance for all our citizens, using measures with teeth.

Dr. David Sproat is a gun owner and hunter who lives in Duluth.

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Dr. David Sproat

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