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April 18, 2013

Letter: Stand up now for background checks that work

To the editor:

If we hope to have any meaningful national-level progress on improving gun safety before the next mass shooting, this week (and the next) are critical, and focusing on universal background checks and anti-trafficking are the key issues we can agree on.

Why now? Because Congress knows they need to do something now, to get it behind them, and if they pass a series of watered-down tokens, it will take frustrating years to get back to a serious effort.

I personally don’t see the place for high-capacity, semi-automatic weapons in any sporting or hunting situation, but I reluctantly conclude that bans on those weapons and clips should be dropped in order to move ahead promptly with matters we can agree on.

Background checks do work, as the Mayors Against Gun Violence coalition, co-founded by Mayor Menino and supported by Mayors Bill Scanlon, Kim Driscoll and Ted Bettencourt, has documented in a published report:

Senate Bill 649, containing solid provisions for universal background checks, is up for debate before the full Senate this week. I urge you to contact Sen. Warren at 202-224-4543 or www.warren.senate.gov/contact.cfm and Sen. Cowan at 202-224-2742 or www.cowan.senate.gov/contact to make your voices heard in support.

Likewise, Congressman John Tierney hosted a local conference on the topic in early March, allowing all sides to air their views. I urge you to contact him, as well, at (202-225-8020) or http://tierney.house.gov/, showing that substantial numbers on all sides do support background checks that work.

PETER JOHNSON

Beverly

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