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Letters to the Editor

For the public safety

| Monday, April 7, 2003

In your March 11 Tuesday Takes , you asked a question of our organization, CeaseFire PA. I'd like to answer it.

Yes, we know what the Pennsylvania Constitution says about the right to bear arms, but that doesn't mean that it can never be balanced with the interest of public safety. Not even the NRA goes that far. It supports forbidding gun ownership to convicted felons, for instance. It supports background checks.

And Pennsylvania courts have upheld this concept again and again. For example, in Gardner v. Jenkins in 1988, the court said: "The right to bear arms, although a constitutional right, is not unlimited and may be restricted in the exercise of police power for the good order of society and protection of the citizens."

CeaseFire PA respects how important the gun culture is to many people. We just think that restricting individual handgun sales to one per 30-day period will reduce the flow of illegal handguns to the street market and thus reduce crime-related injury and death.

The law-abiding gun owner will be only slightly inconvenienced. We think that's a small price to pay to save a life.

Jeanine Smolarek
Mt. Lebanon

The writer is president, Allegheny County Chapter, CeaseFire PA.

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