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Bill Kennedy: Reasonable steps can increase safety

Here we are on the eve of what should be the most joyous day of the year as we celebrate the birth of Jesus and our children and grandchildren eagerly await the arrival of Santa Clause. For the families of the 20 children and six adults killed in Newtown, Conn. just more than a week ago though, Christmas will not be merry, and there won't be a Happy New Year this year and probably for many years to come.

Those who have lost loved ones at this time of year from whatever cause, disease or other health issue or an accident know the feelings to some extent of those in that small town.

As a relatively rational human being I just cannot fathom what must have gone through that young man's mind to suggest that he go to a school and murder small children. We will never know what his thought process was since he took his own life as the police closed in on him. Unfortunately this was just the latest in an increasingly more frequent event where a deranged person takes some high-powered weapon and kills or wounds as many innocent people as he can before taking his own life leaving us the big question, why?

We will never get a satisfactory answer to that question, but since the University of Texas massacre several decades ago to the fast food restaurant shootings in California to Columbine High School to Virginia Tech to Fort Hood to the Amish schoolhouse near Lancaster to the movie theater in Colorado to the mall in Minnesota and now the school in Connecticut, they all have one common element, a high-powered weapon with a high-capacity magazine.

The president stated in his remarks to the nation after this most recent tragedy that this was not the time for the discussion on gun control. On that point I disagree, now is the perfect time for this discussion, and some serious soul searching by those who refuse to understand that certain types of weapons and large capacity magazines have no place in our modern society except for use by the military and law enforcement agencies. No civilian needs a military style firearm or a magazine of more than six or eight rounds for any rifle or pistol.

Those who are completely against citizens having firearms would probably endorse a law making it illegal to sell, manufacture or import, in whole or in part, any firearm or the ammunition for it. On the other hand, there are those who would let any citizen own any type of arms that are available and even the most destructive ammunition for them.

As with anything that goes through Congress, some compromise would be necessary. I would begin with limiting the size of the magazines to six to eight rounds and prohibiting the sale of military equivalent weapons. To be sure, this will not stop the deranged from killing, but it just might limit the number of those killed, and any life spared is a plus. How many more children in Newtown might have been saved if the shooter had to stop and change magazines after six or eight rounds?

I'm sure I'll get responses from those who are staunchly pro gun calling me nasty names, and I'll probably get some who agree with my point of view. All that I am proposing is for both sides on this issue come together to do what they can to stop the more and more frequent carnage.

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