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Residents zero-in on assault-weapon proposal

| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 1:28 a.m.
Molly Jacobs-Moody of Harmar talks about Pres. Barack Obama's proposals to reduce gun violence on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Neve Laughery of Tarentum on Wednesday January 16, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Todd Davis of Lower Burrell talks about Pres. Barack Obama's proposals to reduce gun violence on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Russell Anderson of Fox Chapel talks about Pres. Barack Obama's proposals to reduce gun violence on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Of the more than two dozen suggestions President Obama announced Wednesday to curb gun violence, the proposed ban on assault-style weapons got the most attention from Alle-Kiski Valley residents.

Molly Jacobs-Moody of Harmar said only the military should have access to assault weapons. She said she doesn't believe the framers of the Constitution had those weapons in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment, which gives Americans the right to bear arms.

“I think people should be able to hunt, but with something you can use to take down a deer,” she said. “Not waltz into a mall or school or Wal-Mart and take out a ton of people at a time.”

Jacobs-Moody said she grew up in Florida, where hunting is less popular.

“I don't want to judge anyone with guns, because I don't have one,” she said. “But I'd like to see them have better control.”

Russell Anderson of Fox Chapel said he supports the president's proposals. But he noted preventing people, including the mentally ill, from buying assault weapons would not have prevented the Sandy Hook school shooting from happening because shooter Adam Lanza didn't buy the guns he used — he reportedly used his mother's guns.

David Law of New Kensington also used Lanza's actions to question the effectiveness of a ban, or any law relating to guns, because they all can be broken.

“Before he ever got to the school, he committed four crimes,” including stealing guns, killing his mother, stealing a car and going onto school property with firearms, Law said.

“More people are stabbed with knives and beaten with baseball bats and killed by drunk drivers and medical mistakes,” Law said.

Law said guns are inanimate objects and people are to blame for violence.

“(A gun is) no different than a brick,” Law said. “You could take a brick and build a school or a house. Or you could hit someone over the head with it or throw it through a window.”

Law said there are many problems contributing to gun violence, from video games to the breakdown of family values.

“It's not just one issue — there are many problems,” he said.

Todd Davis of Lower Burrell, who said he owns a semi-automatic rifle, also objected to a weapons bans.

“It's a free country,” Davis said. “We should be able to buy guns. The issue (of mass shootings) is more of a mental health issue.”

Neve Laughery of Tarentum said he watched the president's address on Wednesday and agrees with his proposals.

“I think it's a good idea,” he said of the proposed ban. “Assault rifles are intended for the express purpose of killing a human being.”

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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