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Make gun safety a high priority

The slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., sickened me and moved me to do something I had not done in a long time.

I e-mailed and wrote my elected officials, urging them to vote for more stringent gun control. I have six school-aged grandchildren and one on the way, so what happened at Sandy Hook could have happened in any of their schools and possibly still could in the future.

Call me naive or optimistic, but I believe sound public policy can create positive changes and that there are several steps that should be considered to limit gun violence. First, require annual registration fees for all guns. The National Firearms Act needs to be revised to require registration for all guns with a window of a one year to register all previously unregistered guns.

Enact federal law for annual registration fees or taxation of all guns, which has been tried before (SB-2099). If we had a $200 registration fee per gun per year — shared at the federal, state and local levels — it might fund mandated safety training for all registered gun owners, boost the resources of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to monitor and better control illegal gun trafficking and provide additional support for our state and local police.

We pay annual registration fees for the use of our vehicles, so why not guns? Mandated safety training seems to be in order. Rule No. 1 when I learned to shoot guns as a kid was not to point guns at people. With more than 9,000 people being killed in America per year by guns, maybe it is time for mandated safety training.

Gun manufacturers should develop smart technology to recognize palm prints or develop some smart technology to activate an automatic safety mechanism on guns so they cannot be used by anyone other than the registered owner.

They could move into the market niche of gun safety training and safety technology. Regulatory safety measures and entrepreneurial technology may provide some reconciliation of the right to bear arms.

None of the above will prohibit the recreational gun enthusiast or seasoned hunter from using their guns and may even make things a little safer for their children, too.

Andrew Buck

Douglaston

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