January’s tragedy in Tucson spurred considerable discussion about gun control, an issue that always sparks lots of lively debate – which may be why the president refrained from talking about that in his State of the Union address on Jan. 25. But I firmly believe we need greater gun control in this country.

I recently became a supporter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and last week made a contribution to that organization in memory of Christina Green, the 9-year-old girl who was shot to death in Tucson on Jan. 8.

Jim Brady was an assistant to the president and White House press secretary under President Ronald Reagan. After being shot and nearly killed and becoming permanently disabled as a result of an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, Brady and his wife became ardent supporters of gun control. During a White House ceremony attended by the Bradys in November 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act into law.

Paul Helmke, a former president of the United States Conference of Mayors, has been president of the Brady Campaign since 2006. He expressed public regret that President Obama did not mention gun control in his State of the Union.

Helmke wrote on the Brady Campaign Blog: “It wasn’t the lack of innovation, education, or investment, too many regulations or too much debt that ended Christina’s life and her dreams – it was a clearly dangerous man who had way too easy access to a gun with a high-capacity ammunition magazine – good only for killing many people quickly.”

Earlier in January, Helmke spoke publicly in support of H.R. 308, the bill Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 18. That bill is called The Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, and it would ban magazines that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition. McCarthy knows about gun violence: Her husband was killed and her son injured in a 1993 shooting.

I’m not saying all guns ought to be banned. Guns for hunting and personal protection by responsible citizens can surely be considered legitimate. But there must be some limitations on who can buy guns as well as which types of guns and magazines are available.

According to the Brady Campaign, 34 people a day are murdered by firearms in the United States. That means that every three months, more people are killed by guns in this country than were killed by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, – Christina Green’s birthday.

We citizens of the United States remain outraged at the deaths caused by the Sept. 11 terrorists – as well we should. But why are we not more concerned about the far more than 100,000 people in this country since then who have been killed by gun violence, including a child full of promise named Christina?

Leroy Seat was a missionary to Japan from 1966-2004 and is both professor emeritus of Seinan Gakuin University and pastor emeritus of Fukuoka International Church. This column appeared previously on his blog.

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