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Reader Input: Blaming the weapon misses the mark

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Re: “Tone down our weaponry,” (Reader Input,  Dec. 20):
First of all, I do not wish to make light of the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook Village of Newtown, Conn. However, it seems that a tragedy such as this one seems to bring out some very misguided individuals such as Geary Tiffany of Auburn and his letter to the editor.
The National Rifle Association is most definitely my friend and has protected my rights as a gun owner and enthusiast most of my life. My first weapon capable of killing multiple people was a .22 rifle that, with proper instruction and safety procedures, gave me an enormous amount of respect for the capability of such a weapon and at the same time a very enjoyable and satisfying experience that I have had the privilege of sharing with my own children.
I was 12 years old when I received that .22 rifle and yes, that very rifle could have done the same damage that was done Dec. 14. Today I own a .22 that is a semi-automatic rifle capable of performing an incredible amount of damage in a short period of time.
In addition, like so many members of the NRA, we own handguns, automatic rifles, shotguns, rifles capable of taking out a deer at 5,000 feet and a vast array of weaponry to be used for our own enjoyment. We also take our responsibilities very seriously and keep these weapons locked up. To indicate that our semi-automatic rifles have no sporting value is, at best, just an uneducated statement made by one who has no idea.
I do know that when my wife and I turn in for the night we are safe and secure and part of that is knowing that should something come up during the night, we are protected. If you are not a gun owner and do not understand this right then I am sure that I cannot explain it to you.  Weapons in the hands of civilians are not designed to kill people.
To take the tragedy of Dec. 14 and again put blame on the gun and not on the shooter is just missing the mark as we seem to do again and again.
We need to address the real issues that are cause for concern in our country. Let us start by putting God back into our schools. Better yet,  how about if we put God back in charge where he needed to be all along? How about if we say the Pledge of Allegiance prior to starting the school day, as well. How about if we keep the guns that we are not using locked up with the exception of one to protect ourselves. Let us start dealing with our mentally ill and stop incarcerating them as if that was going to fix the problem.
Michael Keeffe, Auburn