Thursday January 31, 2013

Great Barrington’s Selectmen have bravely entered the gun control morass, and while they have agreed to listen to gun advocates before adopting a proposed resolution on gun control measures, the board should come down strongly in favor of gun reform -- and other Berkshire communities should do the same.

A delegation of gun owners came to Monday night’s board meeting to express objections to gun control that are as hollow as they are familiar. No one is being stripped of gun rights, as guns can be regulated just like cars, medicine and anything else that is potentially harmful. The old argument that only criminals will have guns ignores reality. Nancy Lanza was a law-abiding citizen when she bought the military-style assault weapon her son used to kill her and then butcher 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut. If an assault weapon ban had been in force that would not have happened, and tougher gun laws in general mean fewer gun deaths.

Gun owners are reluctant to acknowledge that those on the front lines against gun violence -- specifically police officers -- and the town and city officials who employ them advocate tougher gun laws. Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi recently joined the group Mayors Against Guns after attending a recent conference of Massachusetts mayors, and in the course of an interview with The Eagle’s Jim Therrien this week said "I think it’s important for mayors to recognize that illegal guns and gun violence are critical issues, especially for cities.


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" President Obama and Senate Democrats have proposed strict and long overdue new gun regulations, and we urge elected officials in all Berkshire cities and towns to support them.