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The devastating killing of three of Burnsville's first responders on Feb. 18 renewed debate about gun access.

How did someone who was banned from possessing weapons obtain multiple guns? How can guns be kept out of the wrong hands? These debates have continued with each mass shooting and law enforcement and first responder tragedy. The Feb. 25 front-page article "Firearm bans rely on empty honor system" reveals the complexities behind gun access.

Restricting guns seems daunting and unrealistic. An online search suggested that nearly 466 million guns are owned in the United States. Addressing gun access by legislation has been slow, with minimal steps and impact. Gun violence needs to be approached from different angles: access, mental health, education and enforcement, to name a few. Other pieces to gun violence can be addressed.

One step would be to monitor and restrict access to ammunition. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported that the Burnsville shooter fired more than 100 rifle rounds at law enforcement and that a large amount of ammunition was recovered. The aftermath of some of our country's mass shootings have uncovered stockpiles of ammunition in the hands of the killer. The Aurora, Colo., movie theater killer, for example, possessed more than 6,000 rounds of ammo purchased online with an AR-15 rifle drum capable of holding 100 rounds, along with various explosives.

Minnesota currently has no restriction on who can buy ammunition or the amount that can be bought. A gun permit is not required, nor is training on usage and storage of ammunition.

Felons are prohibited from possessing ammunition, but they are not required to disclose their conviction, produce identification or be subject to a background check if they try to buy ammunition. Nobody faces scrutiny when buying ammunition, and this should change.

In Minnesota, a person can buy unlimited quantities of ammunition at a retail store and do the same thing at another store the same day. High-impact ammunition can be stockpiled — and recent events show that it is — at the will of the buyer. No background check is required for purchases. Over-the-counter sales of ammunition should be regulated in the same manner as over-the-counter pseudoephedrine sales at the pharmacy. When I buy the nasal decongestant pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed, I am required to produce my driver's license, which is scanned. This tracks quantities of pseudoephedrine sales that can be used for making methamphetamine. Scanning my driver's license allows the sale to be tracked so I do not jump from pharmacy to pharmacy to buy large quantities of Sudafed for improper purposes. A similar model requiring a driver's license or state ID could be used for regulating quantities of ammunition sold to individuals. The risks posed by excessive sales of ammunition are certainly as great as excessive sales of pseudoephedrine.

Another aspect of ammunition sales that could be regulated is the size of high-capacity magazines available for public purchase. Do private people really need 100-, 90- or 50-capacity magazines? Large-capacity magazines have little practical purpose other than to facilitate shooting large amounts in a short period of time. Public accessibility of high-capacity magazines does not make communities safer. High-capacity magazines should be regulated from public accessibility and taken off the streets.

Making a dent in gun violence will take creativity and courage. Taking small steps to address the crisis is better than taking no steps. Our legislators have the opportunity to be creative and courageous in implementing meaningful regulation of ammunition sales to make our communities safer from gun violence. If not now, when?

Stephen C. Fiebiger is an attorney who lives and works in Burnsville.