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February 20, 2013

State gun law is irrational response

I applaud Sen. Seward and Assemblyman Magee for having the courage to vote against a knee-jerk piece of legislation that has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with image. 

In March 2011 in New York, a bus swerved and hit a pole, ripping off most of its roof. Fifteen passengers were killed and 17 injured, including the driver, a convicted felon who had served time for manslaughter and larceny. An investigation determined the bus was traveling in excess of 75 MPH in a 50 mph zone. The driver was prosecuted for criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter. He was found not guilty on all charges, except a misdemeanor count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Should buses be banned because so many people were killed? Must we limit the number of passengers in a vehicle to prevent similar tragedies? Common sense tells us the bus wasn’t at fault. It was the reckless actions of a driver, someone who probably should not have been behind the wheel of a bus in the first place.

Does it make a difference if someone shoots 26 children and teachers, or if he plows his SUV into their schoolyard at recess and runs them down? Suppose he uses a homemade bomb? The result is the same: they are dead because of a lunatic.

The NY-SAFE Act addresses symptoms without considering the causes. The killers in Aurora, Newtown and Virginia Tech had one thing in common. All were identified as threats. None was hospitalized or supervised.

The overwhelming majority of gun owners are honest, respectable, responsible Americans: friends, neighbors and business associates.

I urge Seward and Magee to identify meaningful and effective solutions to the issues of violence and access to mental health care and repeal the NY-SAFE Act.

Charles Zurenko


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