After the dust settles from Newtown

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Many legislators, influenced by the minority represented by the National Rifle Association, have chosen to do nothing or to promise to look into the mental-illness causes and prevention regarding our growing number of Auroras and Newtowns. Addressing the mental health challenges facing our country is commendable. Too often the funding for our mental health research and services is the first to be put on the budget chopping block in Washington.

It is a fact, however, that those small bodies in Newtown would not be buried today if that troubled young man had not had automatic weapons and huge gun clips at his disposal. We must not shy away from this reality. We, in urging commonsense measures, will help begin the return to sanity and away from solving every difficulty with violence.

We can honor the Second Amendment and still have background checks that screen out mental health patients who have documented violent streaks and felons who have used guns in past crimes. We should ban the sale of all assault-type weapons (no gun-show loopholes), the ammunition they use and large-volume clips. All sales should be tracked, no matter where the sale takes place. Create a funded national database that all law enforcement and gun sellers can use for quick and accurate background checks.

And most importantly, we should urge our elected officials to look beyond their own self interest or their donors' self interest.

WENDY BELL
South Fayette


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