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Reader's view: Shootings highlight need for discussion on guns

Monday's Local View column, "Give conservatives a chance," left me feeling angry and perplexed. In light of the tragic shootings on Saturday, I was appalled at comments about Republicans and guns. Just what did the writer mean when he wrote the f...

Monday's Local View column, "Give conservatives a chance," left me feeling angry and perplexed. In light of the tragic shootings on Saturday, I was appalled at comments about Republicans and guns. Just what did the writer mean when he wrote the following? "Bad guys occasionally use (guns) to forcibly redistribute wealth. Only the government is allowed to distribute wealth. Guns are a symbol of freedom, and they give meaning to the words, 'consent of the governed.' "

We need to have a serious discussion about the role guns play in our culture. Arizona gun laws allow anyone 21 or older to carry loaded guns in public. The Assault Weapons Ban, allowed by Congress to lapse in 2004, prohibited the importation and manufacture of ammunition clips like the one allegedly used by Jared Loughner to murder six people and injure 14, including a congresswoman ("Suspect in Arizona attack acted alone," Jan. 10).

Can we continue to ignore the culture of violence and the culture of allowing loaded guns everywhere we go? Can we continue to ignore the overwhelming influence the gun lobby has on our elected leaders? We should demand they stand up to NRA rhetoric about more guns meaning a safer society. If more guns make us safer, how do we explain the daily gun homicides of 32 people in America, and that we own more guns than any other country not at war? How does this philosophy explain that we also have the largest number of gun deaths by far? Last year alone, there were 68 mass shootings in the U.S. with four or more people killed or injured in each event, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

It's time to put guns smack in the middle of political discourse. Too many victims and their families are hurting and grieving every day in America. Enough is enough!

Joan A. Peterson

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Duluth

The writer is co-president of the Million Mom Northland Chapter, president of the Minnesota Million Mom Chapter, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and a steering committee member for Protect Minnesota Campaign/Board of Citizens for a Safer Minnesota.

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