An Open Letter to State Rep. Themis Klarides Concerning Gun Control

Rep. Klarides,

I don't recall the issue of gun control having come up during our debates in the last election cycle. There were many other issues that seemed much more important at the time, but with the recent shootings in Sandy Hook, I feel it is important for us to talk about this issue.

My father is a member of the NRA. I grew up shooting guns. My father was a black powder enthusiast. He had beautiful hand made black powder pistols. We made our own bullets and laboriously loaded the pistols. We would shoot in our backyard at tin cans not that far from where we stood. Most of these black powder pistols don't have great accuracy. These were the sort of arms that our founding fathers were acquainted with. Yet even with this, my father had a special license to purchase black powder.

We've come a long way since those days, and today's 'modern sporting rifles' are capable of firing hundreds of shots per minute from large magazine clips with considerable accuracy. These weapons are being used too often against our own people and we need to find better ways to control this.

My friends and relatives were among first responders who have had to deal with the horror in Sandy Hook. Others have lost loved ones, and many of my coworkers are helping people cope with the trauma. We need to make the most dangerous guns and their high capacity magazine clips harder for criminals to obtain.

Some will say that criminals will always have access to guns and making guns illegal will not prevent criminals from using them. To a certain extent this is true. However, thieves also break into locked houses, but that does not prevent people from locking their doors. We are unlikely to completely prevent criminals from getting guns, but we can, and should, make it harder for them.

Others point out to Israel as a country that allows gun ownership without having the same sort of gun violence that the United States has. However, I don't think the United States is ready for gun control on the level that Israel has.

Nonetheless, we do need better gun control, like was proposed in Sen. Gary LeBeau's bill SB-1094 in 2011 which would have prohibited the possession of certain ammunition feeding devices that accept more than ten rounds which did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee which you serve on.

In addition, I strongly encourage you to resign from the American Legislative Exchange Council and their Public Safety and Elections Task Force, which has pushed model legislation, like "Stand Your Ground" and the "Gun Owners' Privacy and Access to Health Care Act".

For our families, friends and neighbors, for those who are first responders, friends of victims, and who care for the traumatized, I urge you to take a strong stance in strengthening gun control in our state and to resign from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

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