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Archbishop on Violence

March 03, 1991

I usually don't agree with Archbishop Mahony, but this article points out the eminently disgraceful situation in our country. Guns and violence, they go together like cigarettes and cancer.

For years, the cigarette companies denied that cigarettes were a cause of cancer until overwhelming statistics proved otherwise. The National Rifle Assn. is taking a similar stance in the denial that guns have anything to do with violence. But in Europe, Canada and Japan, among others, there is a fraction of the violence and a fraction of the amount of weapons in the hands of the general populace. Statistics can be misleading, but again the overpowering numbers cannot be denied.

We have recently made some progress in this state with the 15-day waiting period. Congress may pass a rather tame 3-day waiting period called the Brady bill. While both will help, we really need something more drastic.

We need to put severe limitations on the manufacture, importation and sale of all weapons and a complete ban on all semi-automatics. The flow must be cut to a trickle. Weapons already registered should be re-registered every four or five years, including pistols, shotguns and rifles. Anyone caught with an unregistered firearm should be fined and jailed, if appropriate.

Until we dry up the flood of weapons in this country, the violence will continue, perhaps get worse. We did it with cigarettes, let's do it with guns.

LEN ZIRALDO, West Hills

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