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Letter: Arrested grandma blasts gun websites

Updated 9:34 am, Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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I suspect that you all know about my Jan. 8 arrest at the RTM meeting at Town Hall. There has already been too much press about this.

The story went national on Jan. 19 when The New York Times reported it. They sent a reporter and a photographer to cover my appearance in the Norwalk Court on Jan. 18. I got calls from friends and family in California.

The court appearance was only an arraignment. I was before the judge for five minutes, pleaded not guilty and left. It must have been a very light news day for them to give so much space to my story. And they knew that I am not allowed to talk to reporters about my case.

The arraignment was on a day that my grandson Jonah was visiting me. He had arranged a four-day visit before going back to Brown University after his winter break. That Friday had been planned as a visit to a New York museum and a Broadway play at night. He did not expect that his 86 year old grandmother needed to go to court on a breach of the peace charge. The Times photo shows me clinging to his arm.

This is a letter about the incredible availability of guns privately sold without any background checks. It is about one website -- www.armslist.com. It is a national marketplace for people to sell guns privately to people. It is only one of many such sites.

Check out armslist.com for handguns available in Connecticut. You will find more than 70 listed for sale. There are five other categories of guns for sales -- rifles, shotguns, etc. Choose Colorado, and there are 20 shotguns listed on each of 16 pages -- a total of 320 shotguns. In Missouri, 52 pages of handguns listed -- more than 1,000 handguns in that one state. Across the 50 states, there are many thousands of all kinds of guns available for private sales. No background check required.

We need strict laws covering these online purchase sites. We are going to Hartford on Feb. 14 to urge our state representative to strengthen Connecticut gun laws. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is introducing a resolution on controlling ammunition. Can we regulate web sites like armslist.com? This is an important story the New York Times has yet to tell.

Estelle T. Margolis

Westport