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Missoulian mailbag

In response to Rep. Matt Regier (guest column, Feb. 27):

Yes, gun violence has increased and the response needs to be multi-level. There is one measure that has been shown to decrease numbers of incidents and deaths from mass shootings. That is a ban on assault weapons.

Look at the experience in other countries, notably Australia, which has not had a mass shooting for over 20 years. In fact, look at the United States. There was a ban on assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 which was set to expire after 10 years. During the time of that ban, the number of mass shooting incidents and deaths decreased from the prior 10 years. After the ban ceased, the number of incidents and deaths skyrocketed and have continued to increase in frequency and numbers of deaths.

The ban did not address the wider issue of gun violence, including suicides. This one single measure, which did not lead to the end of the world or the end of gun ownership, could make our schools and public places safer from random violence. Many other issues around gun regulation need to be addressed also, but this is a good first place to start.

Beth Thompson,


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