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Slaying of famous sniper highlights dangers of 'gun therapy' to help troubled veterans

Chris Kyle was reputed to be the deadliest sniper in American military history and often took veterans out shooting as a way to ease the trauma of war.

Taking aim at a target, he once wrote, would help coax them back into normal, everyday life with a familiar, comforting activity.

But his death at a Texas shooting range — allegedly at the hands of a troubled Iraq War veteran he was trying to help — has highlighted the potential dangers of the practice.

Former soldiers and others say shooting a gun can sometimes be as therapeutic as playing with a dog or riding a horse.

Yet psychiatrists wonder whether the smell of gunpowder and the crack of gunfire can trigger unpredictable responses, particularly in someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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