Middlesex County Sheriff John J. Buckley said last night that gun control is the key to crime prevention in this country.
Buckley, a Republican, spoke at Lehman Hall last night in an effort to gain support for a gun-control bill he is sponsoring. The bill would ban all hand guns shorter than 16 inches.
Buckley said that building more prisons and passing more laws is not the way to stop crime. "Get the handguns out of society," he said.
The sheriff stressed the fact that 72 per cent of the murders in this country are committed by people who know their victims. He said that these crimes of passion would be substantially reduced if people did not have access to small, easily concealable guns, which he characterized as "sneaky weapons."
As an example of meaningless, passionate crimes, Buckley said a number of people have been shot by handguns in Harvard Square over disputed parking places.
Under the present permit system of gun control in Massachusetts, Buckley said, the number of handguns in the state has doubled. "Some place we've got to come to our senses," he said, adding that this year Massachusetts is the place to begin.
Buckley linked opposition to gun control laws to the American "cult of machismo." A gun makes "a little man into a big man" in the current American culture, he said.
For many males, a gun law would be a form of castration, he said, adding he is asking for "a change in a value system."
Buckley attacked the national gun lobby, because he said the various anti-gun-control groups in this country have been unable to find one criminologist in the world who supported their position.
Buckley said his bill would allow a six-month period during which handgun owners could turn in their guns and be reimbursed for them. People found possessing handguns after that period would receive a mandatory one-year jail sentence.
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