"Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Or do they?

When I was 13, I acquired a .22 rifle. I had no interest in hunting rabbits until I got the rifle. But once I possessed the gun, I wanted to use it for its intended purpose -- hunting small animals often referred to as varmints.

When I was 16, my dad gave me his old bolt-action, 16-gauge shotgun, and suddenly I found I wanted to hunt ducks. I had no interest in hunting rabbits or ducks until I obtained the firearms intended for such activities.

Admittedly, my personal experience with guns represents a single sample and is statistically insignificant. But it also offers a theory that is worth considering. Perhaps the possession of weapons designed primarily to kill people does, in fact, motivate murderous behavior in certain susceptible individuals.

There is no sense in arguing this theory without data to support one's views. I would propose, therefore, that Congress and the White House immediately take action to gather the data that would support or refute this theory.

The logical federal organizations to head such an effort are the National Institutes of Health and the FBI.

Douglas K. Ward, Middleton


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