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Pro: Cities and states should be able to regulate gun ownership

By BY SONNY LONG
July 26, 2010 at 2:26 a.m.


NO COMMENTThe owners of businesses that sell guns in Victoria contacted by the Advocate declined comment for these stories.

Some Crossroads residents think government control of gun ownership is not necessarily a bad thing.

Former nurse and current college student Laura Light, 47, of Victoria, sees the benefits.

"I don't see what harm it could do," Light said. "The criminals are going to get guns anyway, so we should control those guns that are out there legally."

The economist John Lott, in his 1998 book "More Guns, Less Crime," states that laws which make it easier for law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry a gun in public places cause reductions in crime.

Lott's results suggest that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms deters crime because potential criminals do not know who may or may not be carrying a firearm.

Lott's data came from the FBI's crime statistics from all 3,054 U.S. counties.

Light said she has no guns in her household, but has used them in the past to hunt.

"My daddy always told me, if you pick a gun up, be ready to use it," she said.

Thirty-nine U.S. states have passed "shall issue" concealed carry legislation of one form or another. In these states, law-abiding citizens, usually after giving evidence of completing a training course, may carry handguns on their person for self-protection.

Jennifer Perry, a head cashier at Hastings in Victoria, believes in the right to own guns, but also thinks limited government involvement is necessary.

"A permit for a concealed handgun is fine because they run a criminal background check. I don't have a problem with that," Perry said. "If you are following the law, it shouldn't be a problem."

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show passage of the Brady Bill, which requires a criminal background check before purchasing a handgun, has prevented many people from purchasing a weapon.

From 1994 through 2008, 1.8 million attempted firearm purchases were blocked by the Brady background check system.

For checks done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2008, felons accounted for 56 percent of denials and fugitives from justice accounted for 13 percent of denials.

In April 2009, the FBI announced it had completed its 100 millionth National Instant Criminal Background Check System approval since its inception 10 years earlier.

Perry, who owns antique guns and a .22 caliber rifle, added that government controls shouldn't be "too restrictive."

"They already control what we can hunt and how many we can kill, things like that," she said.

"We have to find a common ground. Not everyone will be happy," she said. "One bad apple can ruin it for everyone."

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