Guns Kill All Sorts of People : Lawyers aren't the only ones at risk these days in the explosion of violence

By the time the gun smoke cleared over the grisly scene of Thursday's massacre in San Francisco, nine people were dead. Among the fatalities was Gian Luigi Ferri, a suicide victim. This disturbed and vengeful person, police said, had carried two semiautomatic weapons and a pistol into the law offices of Pettit and Martin and started blowing people away. The Woodland Hills resident's three firearms and his hundreds of rounds of ammunition all had been purchased legally.

There was also a culprit other than Ferri that day, one not so obvious: the nation's woefully weak gun control laws. That hole-filled network is, in part, behind today's epidemic of gun-related violence.

The tragic reality is that horrific shootings--singly or in multiples, whatever the motive, whoever the perpetrator--take place every day in America's streets and homes, hospitals, post offices, schools, courthouses or banks. They are so commonplace they often generate little attention outside where they occur. Last year in California there were 3,920 firearm homicides; 1,919 of these were in Los Angeles County.

So it was bizarre, then, when state Bar President Harvey Saferstein called for a "cease-fire" on lawyer-bashing--an end of hate speech against attorneys--after the massacre at the San Francisco law firm. Is that really the first problem that comes to mind? The issue is guns, not lawyers. Bullets do not discriminate by profession, or for that matter gender, age, race or socioeconomic status. They kill all sorts--postal workers, doctors, teachers, schoolchildren.

What's needed is an overwhelming national consensus for rational state and federal gun control measures. That would be a worthy priority for Saferstein and all other lawyers who worry about increasing carnage growing out of insane tolerance for guns.

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