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Letter

Once again, congressmen only offer worthless thoughts and prayers following yet another mass shooting. But they are the only ones with the power to significantly reduce this carnage.

Gun violence is a complex issue. Guns are a common link with racism, disenfranchisement, fear, hatred, mental health issues, etc. It will take professionals from a wide variety of social sciences to work together to develop solutions.

However, a good first start would be to get rid of the weapon of choice: automatic assault guns. They have no place in hunting or self-defense; their only purpose is to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time.

I call on Congress to:

1. Ban automatic assault weapons now! Implement a buy-back program for assault weapons, and have the NRA fund it. Create a horrendous penalty for anyone in possession of an assault weapon, not a slap on the wrist.

2. Empower and fund the Centers for Disease Control to investigate gun violence.

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3. Denounce racism and intolerance.

4. Practice compassion and treat everyone with dignity regardless of race, origin, etc.

5. Support education and improve mental health screening and services.

6. Take your head out of the sand. This problem is not going to go away until Congress takes action.

Lorena Hillis,

Missoula

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