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Cole Carley, Fargo, Published January 19 2013

Letter: Differences in firearms are obvious

On gun control, I offer the following solution which, to me at least, seems simple and easy to understand as well as being logical.

It’s based on two premises. First: Firearms created for personal use as protection or sport such as hunting should be untouched by any legislation and allowed as they are now. This would include revolving pistols and most rifles.

Second: Firearms designed for the military and law enforcement should be confined to those bodies and made illegal for use by individuals. This would, of course, include all automatic and assault weapons. The logic for this idea stems from the fact that automatic weapons were created with one purpose: To spray bullets, to fire many rounds at a time at human targets. They were designed to make it possible for one person to kill several others or kill one person without having to aim carefully. They were meant to be used by authorized military and law enforcement personnel and that’s where they should stay. In situations where people like you and I wish to play with weapons like these, state government could sanction firing ranges to own and rent automatic weapons on-property.

I can hear the boos and disdain now. I know that there will be many who will cry “slippery slope,” “nanny state” and “constitutional rights.” Regarding the latter, the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution to be modified (amended) as time changed circumstances. With standing armies and reserves, we have no more need of local militia to fight wars, which is the stated initial premise of the Second Amendment.

Firearms have been a part of the American culture since the earliest days of the pioneers. Parents and grandparents have enjoyed teaching youngsters how to hunt and to handle weapons safely. It’s an American tradition. This tradition will not be infringed upon by the elimination of automatic weapons that, once again, are designed only to kill people quickly.

Gun control legislation isn’t the only answer to the violent tendencies of some people, but it must be part of the answer. We must also mandate increased funding for mental health, particularly for diagnosis and treatment of individuals with impaired abilities to deal with life.

And arming teachers? Putting more weapons into classrooms and public gatherings? Please. We don’t want teachers to have to make decisions that could end the life of another person or to be haunted by its aftermath. The trauma and psychological impact that emotionally wound our warriors and police officers should be enough to scare us away from that idea.

This is America. We should be able to put everything on the table and discuss issues rationally. Let’s do that.

Carley is former president/CEO of the Fargo Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau.