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THOMAS ADELIS: 22, Nassau County resident Employed at (Credit: Photo by James A. Escher)

THOMAS ADELIS: 22, Nassau County resident
Employed at security business
Owns .38-caliber Smith ... Wesson and 9-mm Sig Sauer handguns
He bought his guns within the last six months and said they are for self-defense. Adelis says he thinks property crime may rise as the economy stagnates. "Every day it gets worse and worse," he says. "There are a lot of wackos out there and the economy, the way it is now, people get nervous and start breaking in, stealing things to sell for money. You hear about home invasions. I'm not saying that I'm going to pull out the gun right away and shoot someone. You can't get a handgun and use it however you want.

"I mainly got it to protect my home, the people I love, and for (protection) at my work. I bought (a second handgun) just in case something ever happened to the first one."

LIers tell why they want to own guns

Whether it's for protection, sport shooting or target practice, Long Islanders share why they want to own guns.

THOMAS ADELIS: 22, Nassau County resident Employed at
(Credit: Photo by James A. Escher)

THOMAS ADELIS: 22, Nassau County resident
Employed at security business
Owns .38-caliber Smith ... Wesson and 9-mm Sig Sauer handguns
He bought his guns within the last six months and said they are for self-defense. Adelis says he thinks property crime may rise as the economy stagnates. "Every day it gets worse and worse," he says. "There are a lot of wackos out there and the economy, the way it is now, people get nervous and start breaking in, stealing things to sell for money. You hear about home invasions. I'm not saying that I'm going to pull out the gun right away and shoot someone. You can't get a handgun and use it however you want.

"I mainly got it to protect my home, the people I love, and for (protection) at my work. I bought (a second handgun) just in case something ever happened to the first one."

DAVID BIGGS: 28, Nassau County Works in construction
(Credit: Photo by Carol Polsky)

DAVID BIGGS: 28, Nassau County Works in construction
Owns three rifles, intends to buy a 9-mm handgun and to apply for a permit

He's getting the pistol to protect himself in his home. "I believe that people should have the right to bear arms and protect their families. I think that people don't understand that if someone comes into your house, you're going to thank God you had the ability to protect your family. A handgun is a lot smaller and it's better for close-quarter shooting. A rifle can go right through the wall."

Like some others gun-shopping, he believes increased restrictions on handguns are inevitable. "I have a feeling it's going to get a lot harder to get a permit. I have a lot of friends who are getting permits too. I guess I was 9 years old when I first started target shooting. I love it. It's a lot of fun. After a long day of work, you go shoot, it's a stress release."

JAN HANNA:
(Credit: Newsday Photo / Ana P. Gutierrez)

JAN HANNA: "over 50," Southampton Town Small-business owner, married to Jacques Ditte
Two handguns: .357-Magnum Smith ... Wesson 60 and .38-caliber Smith ... Wesson 637

Hanna purchased her first handgun a few months ago, then another soon after that.

"I was a little nervous about what was going to happen politically," she said. "Second, it was gradually dawning on me that I have no way to defend myself . . . and I thought maybe I should do something about this."

She said she has completed safety training courses.

"It shows you about gun safety. You should try to do everything you can to fire a gun only in the gravest and extreme circumstances."

JACQUES DITTE: 50, Southampton Town, works in advertising
Owns a Sig Mosquito .22 caliber and a Smith ... Wesson 9 mm

Ditte said he got his license at the end of last year, bought one pistol earlier this year, then added another.

Asked why, he said: "Because I have the right. I have my license and it is my constitutional God-given right. I have the right to self protection."

He also said he enjoys target-shooting. He said he went through an extensive background check to purchase his guns, including providing fingerprints and four character witnesses.

"They checked me out more than half the citizens in New York State," he said. "It's not like anybody is going to go out and get one."

The "background check for a pistol license goes far beyond what any citizen in N.Y. state ever goes through, as my fingerprints and background checks go to FBI, state and local databases for verification. How many New York residents who have never been arrested ever go through such scrutiny?" he said.

"The point is in life, things happen and there is always the chance - God forbid - where it's life or death. You have the right to take your safety into your own hands."

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EDWARD FUNCHESS: 44, Westbury Works for tire-repair service
(Credit: Photo by Patrick E. McCarthy)

EDWARD FUNCHESS: 44, Westbury
Works for tire-repair service
Owns a .30-06 caliber Remington rifle, and an Remington 879 shotgun. Plans to apply for a handgun permit.

He loves target-shooting. "It relieves a lot of frustration and it's a good workout, " he says. "You're trying to get a small object into a small target. By trying to concentrate on that, as soon as you pull the trigger all your tension goes right out with the bullet."

Funchess first learned about guns in the Army. "My first hunting experience was when I was 26, 27," he said. "I hunt upstate, for deer, bear, rabbit, squirrels. Nonhunters who hear about it, I say: 'That steak you buy, how do you think it gets to the store? Somebody has to kill it.'

"I want to get a permit for a handgun for target practice. I want to get a permit before they add more rules and change all the regulations."

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