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jacksonA longtime Sylva business owner was arrested on federal charges after agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms surrounded his Main Street store Friday morning.

op frNothing would reflect better on this country than to have a rational, reasoned debate on gun violence and what steps could be taken to curb it while still adhering to the Second Amendment. One look at the statistics shows how badly this needs to take place. 

But we aren’t getting close. In face, a recent law introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly would be a step in the wrong direction.

fr gunstoreA Sylva gun storeowner was given special permission to fire weapons in the town limits by town leaders this month.

op frThe defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate wasn’t as much surprising as it was disappointing. This is one of those issues — like gay rights or even limits on tobacco advertising and use — that will eventually gain overwhelming support. Public opinion and a changing electorate will eventually win out. I’d bet the farm on it. Unfortunately, many more tragedies — some preventable — and a few more years will have to pass.

 Sandy Hook is still fresh in our minds. In truth, the Senate legislation would likely not have stopped a mentally unstable son from murdering his mother and taking her guns into an elementary school. But even the utter senselessness of that massacre was not enough to convince politicians who feared voter amnesia and an election backlash. 

All loaded up and no place to shoot — such is the plight of gun owners in Macon County, especially when its raining or snowing outside. That’s because the closest indoor shooting range to Franklin is as far as Asheville or Brevard.

The Canton Police Department is considering selling two 80-year-old submachine guns and using the proceeds to pay for new and better equipment for the force — before the federal government possibly bans such weapons.

fr gunshowEditor’s Note: Given the national debate over gun legislation and controversy swirling around gun shows in particular, The Smoky Mountain News was curious to see just what goes on at a gun show. Join our reporter on a stroll through the exhibit hall of a gun show at the Haywood County Fairgrounds last weekend and meet some of the hobbyists that wheel and deal in collector’s firearms.

op frBy Bob Scott • Guest Columnist

After the killing of 26 children and adults by a young man using a semi-automatic gun best used for combat, the knee-jerk reactions have begun.

Politicians on the Democrat side of the aisle are calling for assault weapon bans. Some Republicans are saying we need more guns. Others are claiming that if we arm more people, they will stop a shooter. If more people carry guns, there will be less crime. Schools should have armed guards. All of these solutions are inconclusive. However, 19 mass killings in the past five years have produced no reasonable answer to this terrible national problem. Stronger gun control will probably have no effect as there are more than 300 million guns in our society. It would be impossible to round up these guns or even attempt to register them.

Gary Peebles • Guest Columnist

In an entirely predictable way, the Connecticut shootings have touched off another round in the debate about gun control in America. Both sides have valid points. The left is correct; guns are exceptionally efficient killing machines that seem to carry a mystique about them, after all you don’t read stories of 20 children being bludgeoned the death by a baseball-bat wielding loner.

fr machinegunAs Carol Adams approached the table of automatic rifles, she looked giddily around and picked the fully-automatic Swedish K out of the lineup.

“This is my first time ever firing a gun,” she said as she stepped up to the firing range, fired off a few rounds and then switched over to the Heckler and Koch MP5, the same make of gun that killed Osama Bin Laden. She continued firing through the whole magazine.

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