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LETTER: America needs to envision different future

To the Editor: President Obama in his speech after the Orlando mass murder said it right: "We need to decide what kind of country we want to live in." We need to envision a different future from the one we seem to be headed for. That one has ever...

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To the Editor:

President Obama in his speech after the Orlando mass murder said it right: "We need to decide what kind of country we want to live in."

We need to envision a different future from the one we seem to be headed for. That one has everyone heavily armed and looking for a fight, fearful and suspicious of their neighbors and everyone they meet - every grievance and prejudice can best be settled with a gun.

Terrorists and an aggressive NRA organization have combined to make gun manufacturers and gun sellers a lot of money and as the saying goes, "Money talks," and Congress has been listening.

There is another way. Other countries have responded differently to mass killings - one of those is Australia. Australia's worst mass murder occurred in 1996, when 35 people were killed and 25 wounded.

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Just 12 days later the government passed a buyback program of semi-automatic weapons, banned private gun sales, required gun registration and mandated that buyers present a "genuine reason" for purchasing the guns. Research in 2010 indicated that these laws reduce gun suicides by 74 percent and gun related homicides by 59 percent. Australia is a safer country because of their anti-gun laws.

We need a lot of things to make the United States a safer country, but one of those things is for Congress to recognize that the NRA and the gun manufacturers and sellers do not have the best interests of the people of the United States at the top of their agenda. The people of the United States need to remind their representatives and senators of that during this election year and if they aren't paying attention - vote for someone who will listen. The right to bear arms is not absolute - some kinds of weapons (machine guns) are banned from private ownership.

In my opinion, private ownership of semi-automatic firearms should also be banned. The fact that they are fun to shoot is not a good reason to keep them legal - they are just too lethal as we have witnessed on too many occasions.

Richard Peterson

Wewela

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