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When a mass shooting occurs in the United States, many call for “common sense” gun control.

According to Centers for Disease Control, 96 people die each day as a result of firearms. This includes an average of 36 homicides and 60 suicides daily.

Another legal product inflicts a far greater death toll. Tobacco — in the form of cigarette smoking — kills 1312 people each day. 112 of those deaths are involuntary from second hand smoke. Another 1200 people die daily from a lifetime habit of voluntarily smoking. Yet, no call for banning of the sale of cigarettes in America has been proposed.

In the past half century, the percentage of U.S. adults who smoke has gone from 42% to 14%. Perhaps the occasional public service announcement on TV has had an effect. It is clear the education, not laws, has reduced the smoking of cigarettes and, presumably, the death toll from tobacco.

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The question for the prevention of gun deaths is simple: Will education about gun use or legal restriction of gun possession be more effective?

Stay tuned.

Thomas Thiel, Crown Point

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