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Letter: From gunmaker’s town, a plea for action

I live in Newport where Ruger firearms are made. The Newtown, Conn., massacre has finally wakened the country to having a serious conversation about gun violence, and this town needs to be part of that dialogue.

The popular chant “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” doesn’t sell anymore. People are killing people with guns at an alarming rate. Good people do not oppose guns – we oppose gun violence. Most Americans simply want fewer people to abuse firearms.

When auto fatalities mounted, seat belts were created. No one said “cars don’t kill people, people kill people.” When it was determined that lead in paint caused developmental brain damage, we removed the lead. Product safety is a part of consumer society. So why such vehement arguments against thorough background checks and limits on assault weapons? Do we care less about the victims of crime than of accidents?

As a town that has manufactured firearms for 50 years we can’t sit this out. We need to be part of the solution.

No one wants the factory to close, and neither do we want to be branded for the product that is produced here. We have an obligation to be responsible partners with the citizens who buy them and the country at large which too often finds itself on the wrong end of them.

As a first step, I propose our town leaders and Sturm, Ruger officials get out front on this issue and make a joint declaration to promote seeking effective solutions to reducing gun violence in America.

Newport

I agree. It may be doing more harm than good to keep linking the 2nd Amendment to gun violence. Since there are no proposals to repeal the Second Amendment or to ban guns, it seems in our best interest to leave the Second Amendment out of it, so that the issue centers around, simply the items, themselves – guns and ammunition, which are manufactured, potentially lethal, weapon products. These products are directly related to the 30,000 gun deaths per year (Not the Second Amendment). Many products have effective federal and state regulations related to their use, manufacturing, and distribution in order to improve everyone’s safety because they are unsafe and lethal. But we can still buy some of them - why should guns be different? It seems like plain common sense to tighten laws or create new ones to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from getting access to guns. Gun owners and non-gun owners - everyone prefers that these people don't get guns. It’s worth more paperwork or effort for everyone’s safety. Get the town officials working with the gun company. Get Smartgun technology going. Get the manufacturers at the forefront, so that instead of being lured away from the state, they become a cutting-edge model for other companies in other states. And the jobs stay. We all - enthusiasts/owners and non-gun owners care about personal and public safety, and will benefit.

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