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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Access to guns is the problem

By Robert Blake
December 27, 2012 | 2:23 p.m. CST

The NRA’s proposal to create a national registry for mentally ill persons is incredibly stupid. We should encourage the mentally ill to get professional help, not discourage them. Many will avoid help if they face the prospect of being put into a national registry. This proposal is a cynical gimmick to distract us from the major cause of gun violence — easy access to guns. Certainly, we should expand efforts to treat the mentally ill. This requires increased funding, which sadly, politicians supported by the NRA often oppose.

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Yeah, right, tell me another one. If Adam Lanza had walked into school with baseball bats or knives instead of guns, there would be more teachers and children alive in Connecticut today.

As for the proposal to place armed guards in schools: All nine of the innocent bystanders recently shot on the sidewalk in New York City were shot by police officers who were trying to bring down a lone gunman.

Rates of gun violence are much lower in European countries than in the U.S. Mental illness and exposure to violent movies and video games are as common there as here. The difference is access to guns. We must do something about that.

Robert Blake is a Columbia resident.