- - Sunday, June 19, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Contrary to those who argue that gun control should not be the focus of the Orlando nightclub shootings, I believe that gun control is the overriding issue at play. We clearly have too much of it.

The right to keep arms is well protected, but the right to bear arms at most of the places at which these mass shootings have been perpetrated is almost nonexistent. With 350 million guns (including 10 million assault-type rifles) already owned by Americans, any half-competent bad person can readily get one. Without a criminal record, he or she can legally buy one or use a straw buyer or the black market. The terrorists at Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Garland and Orlando, along with the wackos at Aurora, Virginia Tech, Newtown and Charleston, all prove this reality.

We can and should destroy the Islamic State and its inspiration for homegrown and worldwide terrorism. This will definitely help make the world safer. But we will still have plenty of other crazies who will be inclined to kill lots of people. Let us make a useful compromise with those who favor more gun control. We can agree to add background checks at gun shows, ban the sale of assault rifles again and restrict those on FBI watch lists from making unauthorized purchases. At the same time, we should agree to protect the full right of all responsible citizens to bear arms at most places.

We should not be putting someone like former football star Plaxico Burress in jail after he accidentally shot his own thigh at a nightclub while holding an expired, out-of-state, concealed-carry license. It is true that there will be some avoidable lethal conflicts when more people can freely carry their legally owned guns, but there will be far fewer and more limited mass killings, whether perpetrated by terrorists or by lunatics, when there are more people present who can shoot back.

GEORGE T. ANAGNOS



Point Pleasant, N.J.

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