Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

A new suggestion for gun control

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Many people have been talking about gun control after last Friday’s tragedy in Newtown, Conn. They have many ideas, but I haven’t heard this one.

All people over the age of 12 who are convicted of committing a crime while in possession of a gun go to federal prison for life. No appeals, no parole, no exceptions.

I bet 95 percent of Americans, including the NRA will agree with this idea.

Now let’s see our do-nothing Congress pass this into law without watering it down.

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Previous Discussion: 14 comments so far…

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  1. Well letter writer put me down for the 5 percent solution.

    CarmineD

  2. Given that convictions can be subject to human error in judgment, as well as the craftiness of lawyers, I think this is too extreme a suggestion.

    If you want to go that far, just ban guns altogether.

    Remember that each person housed in prisons is at the expense of taxpayers. Better to address the real issues before that becomes necessary.

    Also, it still doesn't address the causes of the defendants actions, which can be a pyramid of personal and societal issues leading to extreme actions or criminality.

    Can't we value people more from the beginning of life and throughout their lives, rather that just throw them away when they act out of their despair or due to insufficient mental health services they might have needed much sooner?

  3. Domestic violence and poaching game included?

  4. I agree that those who use guns for criminal purposes should have an additional sentence tacked on to whatever crime they are convicted of. And I would agree with Arthur's idea of life imprisonment if it only pertained to those who physically injured or killed someone when committing the crime(s). To me, by their coarse and brutal action, they have forfeited their right to freedom, and in the name of safety for the rest of us, belong caged for the rest of their natural life.

  5. "All people over the age of 12 who are convicted of committing a crime while in possession of a gun go to federal prison for life. No appeals, no parole, no exceptions."

    Cesare -- a beginning to the right solution, but ignorant of two important facts, the first being most crimes are state matters, not federal. The other is "crime" includes not wearing seat belts and little girls eating fries on subways.

    "Given that convictions can be subject to human error in judgment, as well as the craftiness of lawyers, I think this is too extreme a suggestion."

    peacelily -- this part of your post is excellent. The next part about a total ban ignores nature, reality and history.

    "Domestic violence and poaching game included?"

    wharfrat -- or any traffic violation while exercising one's protected liberty to keep and bear arms? Few seem to know all traffic violations in Nevada are misdemeanors!

    "I agree that those who use guns for criminal purposes should have an additional sentence tacked on to whatever crime they are convicted of."

    lvfacts -- you're leaving out one important element, intent. "Mens rea" -- literally "evil mind" -- used to be a vital element of any crime, legislated out with tragic results.

    "Where once the criminal law might have stood as a well-understood and indisputable statement of shared norms in American society, now there is only a bloated compendium that looks very much like the dreaded federal tax code. The end results can be downright ugly: a soccer mom thrown in jail in a small Texas town for failing to wear a seatbelt; a 12-year-old girl arrested and handcuffed for eating french fries in a Metro station in Washington, DC; and defendants serving 25-year to life sentences in California prisons for, among other things, pilfering a slice of pizza." -- "Overextending the Criminal Law" @ http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/v...

  6. There are millions of gun crimes committed in the United States. Within a very brief period of time you would have more people sitting in federal prison than collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits.

    At about $16,000 a pop per year it would get extremely expensive.

    We have the largest prison population in the world now.

  7. "We have the largest prison population in the world now."

    zippert -- and in the same land where We the people regularly pledge "liberty and justice for all."

    "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac H Tiffany (1819)

  8. I suspect that as we learn more about Newtown, we'll discover that this tragedy was much more about a failing mental health system than inadequate gun laws.

  9. Emthree.... I worked on medical issues for many years as a trustee. We don't have a mental health system in this country. We spend massively on heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis. There's nothing left for anything else.

    A recent report put out by the American Dental Association reflects that 100 million Americans can no longer afford to go to the dentist.

    Mental health is rock-bottom on the list. You could threaten the blowup the world and you would be lucky to get a 72 hour hold. They would more than likely release you within 12 hours.

  10. I'm not sure what you're basing your data on but you might want to double check. The opium epidemics in the 1800s and early 1900s were some of the worst drug epidemics in history. Soft drink manufacturers in the United States used to put highly addictive substances in the drinks to get people addicted to the soft drinks. Restrictions on opioids have reduced this phenomenon. Widespread recreational cocaine use has also been dramatically diminished.

    Selective fire weapons were available to the public in the early 1900s. Gangsters blew the hell out of everything killing God knows how many people. Restrictions were placed on automatic weapons. I can't remember the last time someone was killed by machine gun. Assault rifle restrictions were put into place in California after and not blow up a Jewish school. There have been very few assault rifle deaths in California since.

    Restrictions have been put into place on cigarettes which has reduced cigarette smoking in the United States.

    A combination of education and stricter laws can have a profound effect on the things that plague our society.

  11. The writer illustrates draconian ignorance at it's best.

  12. Any person who feels they need an assault rifle with 300 rounds of high velocity ammunition in 30 round clips to feel safe driving back and forth to work and to the market is too mentally unstable to own or possess any type of weapon.

    Anyone who feels that teachers should be carrying guns in the classroom to protect their students should be forever prohibited from owning a weapon. These feature will solve many of the safety issues related to identifying the mentally unstable and prevent them from owning or possessing guns.

    Anyone who lives for guns should not be allowed to set the standards of safety for America.

  13. gerry says "Assault rifle restrictions were put into place in California after and not blow up a Jewish school. There have been very few assault rifle deaths in California since."

    Wow, what a useless example. How many is "very few" since the ban? How many were there prior to the ban? (Hint: It's also "very few")

    And more importantly, what was the effect of California's assault weapon ban on crime? As seen in the data from the California Department of Justice, violent crime and homicides both continued to increase after the 1989 ban.

    Violent crime in California didn't start decreasing until 1994, which is significant because there were no gun control laws involved in the changes which caused that downturn.