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Firearms issues are very complex

Many South Arkansas residents are hunters. It is not uncommon to spot rifles and shotguns in vehicles driven by deer and duck hunters. Our world is different from the metropolitan areas where mass killings often occur.

Being aware of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, we have noticed two recent major police gun buyback efforts in two large American cities. The arrays of firearms displayed on tables by police are reasons for worry, disgust and applause.

The weaponry is what a platoon of Marines in Afghanistan might strap on if they were going up against a well-armed adversary: A M-16, AK-47 assault rifles, shotguns, handguns, more rifles, a bulletproof vest and ammunition. These weapons were not destined for a war zone, but the streets in our cities.

Some of the weapons had the potential to cause devastation and death. Formidable firepower moves easily from state to state, across borders, into neighborhoods and into the hands of people who have no business owning them.

Another city’s gun buyback the last week of 2012 collected two rocket launchers among 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons.

Tracking down the weapons used to kill 511 police officers killed by firearms in the United States from Jan. 1, 2000 through Sept. 30 answered some of the questions. More than 1,900 officers were wounded by firearms during the same period.

The study indicated handguns were used to kill 365 officers; rifles and shotguns were used to kill 140 officers; two were killed with a rifle and a handgun; and in four cases the type of weapon could not be determined.

Federal law prohibits felons, people who have been committed to a mental institution and drug users from buying a gun. With more than 250 million guns in circulation, a split second of panic can have deadly consequences.