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Taking down a flag won't stop gun crimes

Pictures of Dylann Root, who's charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of nine people at a Charleston church, show him with a Confederate flag — a symbol of racism and hate — in one hand and a .45 caliber gun in the other.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Lindsay Graham and a host of business and community leaders led the calls to remove the Confederate flag from its prominent place on the the state capitol grounds.

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But there has been little if any action to limit the weapons that caused the deaths. Citizens should be asking whether the leadership of National Rifle Association will abide by the wishes of a majority of its members and renew its earlier support for reasonable background checks for gun ownership?

Will responsible gun store owners insist on laws and rules that will enable them to refuse to sell guns to questionable purchasers? Will members of Congress on both sides of the aisle once again pass laws and provide funds to prevent the sale of guns online, at gun shows or between private individuals who may be felons, sex offenders, perpetrators of domestic violence or others who shouldn't have guns?

Government and business leaders responded promptly and effectively to the Confederate flag symbol. Will they respond to the instrument that caused the deaths at a Charleston house of worship as well?

We must urge lawmakers to act courageously and follow the lead of Governor Haley, Senator Graham, Walmart, Amazon and others to reduce the chances of another Charleston, Sandy Hook or Columbine disaster.

E. Niel Carey, Ellicott City

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