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U.S. should follow New Zealand on gun control

U.S. should follow New Zealand on gun control
Atmosphere. Pembroke Pines gun show draws large crowd on its first day of the two day event at Charles F. Dodge City Center, August 10, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Some says its time the United States adopt more stringent gun control laws. (Michele Eve Sandberg / Contributor)

Unlike other advanced nations, the United States government hasn’t done anything about protecting citizens from mass murder by domestic terrorists and from other gun causes (“No more excuses for white nationalist terrorism,” Aug. 6). But the majority of Americans of all persuasions want real, comprehensive and reasonable solutions — and they want them now (“2020 Democrats are talking gun control. Will they propose ideas that would actually work?” Aug. 12).

The United States population has 50 percent of the world’s lethal weapons held by civilians, some 400 million. That’s more guns than people. And many of those are military weapons specifically designed to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. No society, no hunter, sportsman, or civilian, much less white supremacist, should have such weapons. Our nation is facing a crisis — a national security crisis involving hate groups, a national health crisis involving deaths of children, religious groups and minorities from guns, and a national moral and cultural crisis about doing what’s best for people. Or for gun manufacturers, lobbyists and the National Rifle Association.

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Unfortunately, there’s no single legislative remedy that can perfectly solve all aspects of this complex crisis, so a holistic and comprehensive approach is long overdue. If elected public servants listened to the people, a comprehensive solution would include banning military weapons and ammunition, requiring thorough universal background checks, authorizing “red flag” preventive intervention with those who represent a serious threat to themselves or others and other reasonable bipartisan solutions. On the other hand, allowing an effective comprehensive solution to become a political compromise that just nibbles at the problem one more time would be tragic and like giving the American people half a haircut.

New Zealand, a democracy of rugged individuals, faced a horrific gun tragedy by implementing a complete solution in a matter of weeks because the people knew it was the right thing to do, as do you and I, and the politicians did their job. Are we not able to rise to that same level?

Roger C. Kostmayer

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