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Gun Control and Tragedy in a Stockton Schoolyard

January 29, 1989

I have been a gun user for the last 35 years and have seen disturbing changes in the "gun world." When I first became interested in firearms in 1951, gun shops carried bolt-action hunting and target rifles and a few semiautomatic 22s. Military rifles from the two world wars were converted for hunting and target shooting. The interest was in accuracy, attractive stocks and proper caliber for hunting or target shooting. Handguns were for defense or target and held between six and nine rounds.

Today the interest is in firepower. Military weapons with magazines that hold up to 50 rounds are common. More disturbing is the recent production of semiautomatic pistols with a magazine capacity of 100 rounds. As with the assault rifles they have no legitimate use other than mass killing or combat. They are a tragedy waiting to happen.

The NRA has for years protected us from unwise gun regulations that would have taken away the legitimate right to own and use firearms. However, they now block needed legislation to keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of the insane, and to a lesser extent, the professional criminal. (I still believe that most criminals will find guns in spite of regulation.)

We need a more reasoned approach to the problem from both sides. The NRA should back some good laws such as waiting periods and a check for criminal records for most arms. The legislators should propose well-written laws that have some chance of success and not simply pass a new law in reaction to each crime that makes headlines.

MYRON J. ARNOLD

Chino

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