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Gun Control

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According to the F.B.I., 9,369 murders involving firearms took place in the year 2002 within the United States. We as Americans have the right to "bear arms," however there can be some changes to at least try to minimize these casualties. The 2nd Amendment states "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This may be outdated now that we have a strong military (that is our "well regulated Militia,") to protect our security, but can a right be scratched off the Constitution because of someone's interpretation?

Perhaps there can be some changes to the laws to determine who can own a firearm and what types of weapons can be sold. In Arizona and many other states there are no permits required to purchase any type of firearm. While other states have more laws to determine who can own a gun. New York requires you to have a permit to purchase and then register a handgun. The permit may be issued if the applicant is over 18 years of age, has not been convicted of a felony or spent more than one year in prison, and is not an addict, alcoholic or convicted of a narcotics offense. New York also requires the gun stores selling rifles, shotguns, or handguns, provide with the gun a locking device and a label on safe storage. As of March, 2001, any firearms dealer licensed in the state of New York must provide to the state police, along with the original receipt of sale, a sealed container enclosing a shell casing from the handgun sold within ten days of the transfer of a handgun.

Gun control groups are requesting a bill that would create a national handgun licensing and registration system, and that would extend the Brady law to the secondary market of handgun purchases such as gun shows. Under the Brady II legislation it will be illegal to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer a handgun to someone who does not have an FFL (Federal Firearms License), unless the dealer verifies that the buyer has a valid state handgun license. It will also make it a violation of the law for anyone who does not hold an FFL to obtain, either through purchase or as a gift, a handgun or handgun ammunition unless they possess a valid state handgun license. Brady II would require state officials to set up and manage a license system, design a program of study for handgun safety classes, and issue certificates.

Richard Dugeal is an NRA and state certified firearms safety instructor of five years at the Desert Trails Gun Club and Training Facility in Tucson, Arizona. He also is an instructor for the home protection class and the concealed weapons course needed for the permit to conceal a weapon. Like many NRA members Richard does not want to see any bans on any firearm. He believes the Second Amendment gives every American the right to own a gun.

Richard walks the streets of Tucson carrying a concealed weapon. I asked Richard if he feels there could be some changes to gun laws to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. Richard was adamant in saying "no changes are needed." Richard believes the law regarding gun shows and private trading of firearms are "sufficient", which only requires one to ask if the customer is a prohibited possessor, which covers the vendor's liability in Arizona.

I also asked Richard if he would agree to a license to purchase firearms that would require firearm safety certification. Richard says he is strongly against any license to purchase firearms, as for the safety course he said "I am not against the idea" and he would support first time gun owners required to take a firearm safety class.

I questioned Richard about strict penalties for gun violations like Boston's ten year penalty for felons in possession of a firearm. Richard says he believes intentional gun violators such as bank robbers, deserve a heavy penalty, however, unintentional violators like "concealing a weapon without knowing you need a permit," should not be penalized as severely. Richard also stated that in July of 1996, a law was passed that restricts anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing a firearm.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the 'Our Lady of Peace Act' in 2002, to overhaul America's



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