JOHN RIIS-CHRISTENSEN: Gun advocates want safety taught to kids

May 8, 2013 

— On your Perspective page of May 6 you have a column titled "Selling guns to children legal in the United States." Not only is the title offensive but it is also wrong. You cannot sell a long gun (rifle or shotgun) in the United States to a person under the age of 18 years, and you cannot sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21.

Columnist Mary Sanchez states that, "While crime rates in general are dropping, gun deaths are holding to 500 to 600 a year." As her column was about guns and children, it was very convenient that she neglected to state that firearms deaths in children ages 14 and under have fallen from 500 per year in the 1970s to 121 in 1998.

She also neglected to tell your readers that firearms deaths are at the lowest levels since the 1960s -- all this while gun ownership has been on the rise. Americans owned 230 million guns as of 1996.

You will find that most gun owners abhor the death of even one child, and NRA teaches the Eddie Eagle program in schools for grades kindergarten on up.

Children should be taught firearms safety in the home first and also in the schools.

JOHN RIIS-CHRISTENSEN

Atwater

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