Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

Currently: 52° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Gun control not as drastic as portrayed

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

In response to the letter to the editor from Roger Witcher, “It’s a mistake to disarm good guys,” I would like to point out a few misconceptions that he and many others have about gun control.

First, I don’t think that anyone is advocating confiscating every gun in America. He is correct that it would be a needless and impossible task. I do think, however, that we need to make every effort to reduce the types of weapons that are capable of causing so much death in such a short amount of time. No one hunts with an assault rifle. Law-abiding citizens can and should have the right to acquire guns used for hunting and home defense.

We need to increase our efforts to control who can purchase a gun. Does anyone really want to allow felons, terrorists or the mentally ill to buy guns at gun shows without a background check? It is a dangerous loophole that needs to be closed.

Lastly, Mr. Witcher feels that having the “good guys” armed with more guns will somehow deter the “deranged individuals” from going on killing sprees because of their fear of being shot. It’s not unusual that the mentally ill don’t even make the connection between their actions and possible consequences.

In many officer-involved shootings, the victim has some form of mental illness or is a substance abuser, or a combination of the two. They are simply unable to follow simple commands or make connections between their actions and the consequences.

As long as high-capacity guns and assault rifles are allowed into the hands of “deranged individuals,” it won’t matter how many guns the “good guys” have. There will still be mass killings.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 28 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. A well written and well reasoned letter. I will quibble with the last conclusion however:

    'As long as high-capacity guns and assault rifles are allowed into the hands of "deranged individuals," it won't matter how many guns the "good guys" have. There will still be mass killings.'

    There are good reasons to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines and to close the gun show loophole, but doing so will not stop mass killings. 'Future' is correct in his assertions that changes to the way we handle the mentally ill will be required, even more than gun control, if we want to affect the number of mass killings.

    Michael

  2. This is Assault Weapon Control not Gun Control. It's entirely reasonable to control the amount of firepower reasonably necessary for self-defense and hunting. After all, the writers of the Second Amendment had only weapons with a "magazine capacity" of one round in mind.

  3. You need killer control, not gun control. A monster can kill just as many with a handgun. Get the monster off the street, not the guns.

  4. "No one hunts with an assault rifle. Law-abiding citizens can and should have the right to acquire guns used for hunting and home defense.

    "We need to increase our efforts to control who can purchase a gun. Does anyone really want to allow felons, terrorists or the mentally ill to buy guns at gun shows without a background check? It is a dangerous loophole that needs to be closed."

    Skelton -- on your first point you are completely wrong. Our Constitution spells it out -- "Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes." This is a protected liberty, not a privilege to be abrogated by any lawmaking or other regulation.

    About your second, you failed to mention the most important bit -- those who do these killings don't bother with any law. The biggest criminal in that regard is our own federal government. Did you forget "Fast and Furious" from a few months ago? You not only failed to mention it, but you represent anyone representing government as a "good guy." What about Metro's bullies with badges killing our own unarmed citizens? Then there's the counterweight to Sandy Hook @ http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/dec...

    "You need killer control, not gun control."

    FreedomRadio -- excellent post!

    "Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal." -- post-Civil War slogan found @ http://www.colt.com/ColtLawEnforcement/H...

  5. Understand this: history shows that freedom will not be taken all at once. Rather, it will be taken incrementally, inch by inch, until we wake up and suddenly find it gone. By then, it will be too late to reverse what has been done. "Those that would sacrifice a little freedom for a little security deserve neither." This ploy is not about gun control. However, it is about control and power. The power to control. You trust the slimy politicians at your own peril.

  6. "This ploy is not about gun control. However, it is about control and power. The power to control."

    lvfacts -- amen to that!

    "We must choose between freedom and fear -- we cannot have both. If the citizens of the United States persist in being afraid, the real rulers of this country will be fanatics fired with a zeal to save grown men from objectionable ideas by putting them under the care of official nursemaids." -- Scales v. U.S., 367 U.S. 203, 270 (1961), Justice Douglas dissenting

  7. Earlier this year my wife and I went on a 4000 mile road trip across the Western United States. We stopped at several frontier towns. Some of the most draconian gun control measures were enacted in these towns to control violence. If you wanted a drink, a bath and a whore you had to leave your weapons elsewhere. If they caught you with a gun they would either ask you to leave or throw you in jail if you were mouthy.

    How many shootings occurred in these boom towns. One or two a year. Mostly on the outskirts of town.

    150 years ago they understood that guns and cities don't mix. Millions of Americans have been blown to pieces because we forgot those lessons today.

  8. "This is a protected liberty, not a privilege to be abrogated by any lawmaking or other regulation."

    Got it, folks? They think your right to a gun is absolute. Have you been diagnosed as mentally ill? Threatened to carry out an act of terror? Convicted of a violent crime, like rape?

    KillerB says your right to buy as many guns as you can should not be limited in ANY way. It is not a "privilege" to be restricted by any law or regulation.

    Should we arm convicted rapists?

    Or does that include children, KillerB? Should children have the "right" to purchase guns? Carry guns? I mean, given your views on the age of consent, I'd assume you think 9 year-olds are old enough...

  9. Massive gun proliferation in this country isn't a sign of freedom. It's tyranny by the minority. In parts of this nation people are afraid to walk down the street at night for fear of being shot. The National Rifle Association wants to put armed policeman in every school in the United States.

    Freedom is worrying that your six-year-old is going to be blown to bits in an elementary school?

    Guns are changing our whole way of life and it's not for the better.

    Affluent high profile people have to spend massively for private security in this country. bullet resistant clothing, elaborate security systems for their homes, bulletproof cars, bodyguards. These people all fear being shot.

  10. "Got it, folks? They think your right to a gun is absolute. . .KillerB says your right to buy as many guns as you can should not be limited in ANY way."

    ksand -- I didn't say any of that. You seem to be another buffoon who makes it up as you go along. Expect to be disrespected and ignored in any reasonable Discussion here.

    "Massive gun proliferation in this country isn't a sign of freedom. It's tyranny by the minority. . . . .Guns are changing our whole way of life and it's not for the better."

    zippert -- I disagree about the sign of freedom. The problem isn't keeping and bearing firearms, it's when they're used for other than lawful purposes. Like fire -- it can warm or burn, depending on the use.

    "This case illustrates that tragic facts make bad law." -- Wyeth v. Levine, 129 S.Ct. 1187 (2009), Justice Alito, with whom The Chief Justice and Justice Scalia join, dissenting.

  11. The ridiculous histrionics of the Gun Nut Crowd...

    Tired, worn out excuses like 'they're trying to disarm the country!' and 'guns don't kill people!'
    and 'only criminals will have guns!' and 'my 2nd ammendment rights!' and 'from my cold, grey hands!'
    ring hollow in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

    Common sense & good judgement...
    The MAJORITY of American citizens will have their say and
    what they demand will rule the day.

  12. gmag39 says "The MAJORITY of American citizens will have their say and what they demand will rule the day."

    Nice historical reference there gmag. I believe that was a quote from a 1953 speech by the Grand Master of the KKK pointing out that only a minority of people in the US wanted desegregation and insisting that the Supreme Court follow what the majority wanted when the ruled on the Constitutionality of segregation. Right?

    Oh wait, Constitutional protections supersede majority opinion.

    Once again, I'll support and gun control measure, from assault weapon bans to capacity limits to pre-purchase application and evaluation, that can be shown to have actually been tried and had the desired effect previously...or at least can't be shown to have been tried and failed miserably.

    A great example of the above would be the 1994 assault weapon ban everyone wants to reintroduce, which should have shown a reduction in gun crime after enactment and an increase after its expiration. But, oh hey, that's not what actually happened.

    So tell me, what would make reinstating an assault weapon ban that had no effect on crime previously suddenly be effective this time?

  13. At 7:17 AM Killer B wrote". Our Constitution spells it out -- 'Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.' "

    I'm not sure what constitution you are quoting, B, but I just checked my copy of the U.S. Constitution and it contains nothing resembling your quoted statement. If it did, I'd have problems stretching "...other lawful purposes" to include the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut.

  14. Robert:

    http://www.leg.state.nv.us/const/nvconst...

    And since the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut was, as you point out, already an UNLAWFUL purpose....it begs the question why you think additional laws against such would be effective when the current laws were not.

  15. What DID happen, Charles (Wender) is that "... in the five-year period before enactment of the Federal Assault Weapons Act (1990-1994), assault weapons named in the Act constituted 4.82% of the crime gun traces ATF conducted nationwide. Since the law's enactment, however, these assault weapons have made up only 1.61% of the guns ATF has traced to crime" (1994. Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, "On Target: The Impact of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Act.")

    Additionally, since the 1994 act expired, there has been an increase in gun crime.

  16. "I'm not sure what constitution you are quoting, B..."

    renorobert -- what I quoted is far more relevant for all of us here than the Second Amendment. Look it up @ http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Const/NVConst...

    "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -- Abraham Lincoln, first inaugural address, 1861

  17. Really robert? Please provide a citation for "an increase in gun crime" as the FBI data says you are incorrect.

    As for the statistic you did supply, of what value is the percentage of crimes committed with assault weapons?

    Are you saying that if 100 people are murdered before the ban with 40 of them involving assault weapons that your ban was effective if after the ban 150 people are murdered with only 20 by assault weapons?

    Here's the FBI data on violent crime in the US by year:
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/cri...
    Crime in the United States by Volume and Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants

    Year Violent crime rate
    2001 504.5
    2002 494.4
    2003 475.8
    2004 463.2
    2005 469.0
    2006 479.3
    2007 471.8
    2008 458.6
    2009 431.9
    2010 404.5
    2011 386.3

    Please show us the spike resulting from the 2004 expiration of the assault weapons ban.

  18. According to a Gallup poll done a couple of years ago 30% of the people in the country own guns. The rest don't.

    People should be able to walk down the street and send their children to school without fear of being slaughtered. A nation shouldn't have to suffer the way we do because of the minority.

    The Killer is referring to the "Killer Constitution".

    Read my above posts. There have been gun restrictions in various cities throughout the nation's history. We have age restrictions, restrictions due to criminal histories, restrictions on selective fire weapons, silenced weapons, short barreled weapons, weapons that fire explosives. The argument that the Constitution allows someone to own any type of weapon they want is a little weak. Restrictions on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and bulk Internet ammo sales are very close.

  19. "The Killer is referring to the "Killer Constitution".

    zippert -- assuming you're referring to me, don't be such a dolt. Both Wendor and I provided the link to take you right to Nevada Constitution's Article 1, Section 11.

    To put some context into this Discussion, I've had the experience of standing unarmed between my child and a violent home invader. Your turn.

    "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)

  20. My turn??? Four shootings while I was with the Santa Monica Police Department from 1981 until 2003. I was shot in the head and nearly killed in a training accident. I have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 friends shot and two killed. My mother-in-law was nearly shot and killed while tending bar at the River Rd., Tavern in Piscataway New Jersey. A bar her and her husband owned for 50 years.

    I had to deal with the Watts riots and the LA riots. I lived a short distance from the Jewish community center that was shot up by a neo-Nazi and the North Hollywood shootout in which two armed gunmen fired over 1000 rounds at the police wounding I don't know how many. My house was close enough to be hit by the bullets.

    I went to work one morning and arrived to find out that nearly half of the previous night's watch was shot during the Santa Monica pier shootout.

    The Nevada Constitution?? Nevada is near the top of the list when it comes to gun violence and for five out of the last six years it has led the country in women being shot by their husbands. Go to the UMC emergency room and hang out for a while. Gunshot victims are a frequent occurrence and cost the hospital millions in uncompensated care.

    Gun owners have rights but so do the millions whose lives are being decimated. Over 50,000 a year are getting shot up. The cost is in the billions and the heart ache to surviving family members is incalculable.

    I don't know if you have ever been shot or had someone close to you shot but it's no joke.

  21. gerry, "Gun owners have rights but so do the millions whose lives are being decimated. Over 50,000 a year are getting shot up. The cost is in the billions and the heart ache to surviving family members is incalculable."

    But you still have failed to show that ANY of the gun control laws proposed would have any effect whatsoever on that.

    You have, however, now given us an explanation for your irrational fear of guns, so we can all evaluate your position accordingly.

  22. Just suppose for a moment that it was possible for a group of religious fanatics to gain enough seats in Congress and the White House as well and began passing laws so obnoxious that a sizable portion of the citizenry were to find it necessary to rise up. Since the vast majority of people no longer deal with pitch forks and hoes, would you rather have a single shot shotgun or a high power semi-automatic rifle when it came time to assault the local National Guard armory to get better weapons?

    The issue of mental health is one of the reasons I am leaning more towards a single payer health system, with the provision that those who are truly a menace are dealt with in a fashion that minimizes the threat they can pose.

    As for background checks, I would consider having background checks on all people with access to a weapon, not just the person making the purchase. But even then, I would prefer to see some kind of severe liability attach to an irresponsible gun owner if they allowed or created circumstances that resulted in a weapon being misused.

    I do not mean to speak ill of the dead, but the mother was just as responsible as her son for thinking it was okay to have firearms unsecured around him.

  23. It's been a week and one day since and the people of Newtown Connecticut are still burying the fallen angels of Sandy Hook Elementary School. This is the time to respect and revere the dead with mourning and prayers, not talk gun control. There will be plenty of time for the latter but not yet.

    CarmineD

  24. wendor (Charles Gladu) (Dec. 21, 2012, 5:38 p.m.) In responding to my letter you presented an interesting array of data at 5:38 p.m. yesterday. But you made a very common, error in logic. You answered A comment. You did not answer A SPECIFIC comment. I stated "Additionally, since the 1994 act expired, there has been an increase in gun crime." You counter with data on "violent crime."

    KillerB, you made the same error at 5:27 p.m. I specifically cited the U.S. Constitution. You attempted to rebut me by citing the Nevada State Constitution. I'll keep your response in mind if there is ever an attempt to increase Nevada's specific gun control laws. In the meantime, the Nevada Constitution has absolutely no significance in a debate about Federal gun control legislation.

  25. "KillerB, you made the same error. . .In the meantime, the Nevada Constitution has absolutely no significance in a debate about Federal gun control legislation."

    renorobert -- it's why I usually put your quote in what I'm posting about. I see no error. And since we're in Nevada the federal Constitution and laws aren't as relevant as our state's. Chances are it's Metro on the front line of gun crime scenes here, not federal police.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Nov 13, 1787

  26. Step one: a VERIFICATION process that can work. Not many who don't meet the minimum qualifications are going to apply using their real I.D. The system would need a turnaround time or technology such as e-verify--online access to the database of those who cannot buy, own, possess. And then we'd need a means of verifying that potential purchasers are citizens--birth certificate at time of purchase? ATF funding?

  27. Has anyone else notice Jeff jumping off the deep end?

    Jeff says "The number of assault weapons did decrease.[manufacturing seized] The number used in crimes decreased [those used in crimes were confiscated, so each one confiscated was one less used...it's that abhorant thing called math]. "

    Actual figures please. And then explain why you feel that the "number [of assault weapons] used in crimes" is significant. If the total number of gun crimes or violent crimes didn't decrease then of what siginifigance is the percentage by type of gun? Can you show a decrease in gun crime after the ban went into effect and an increase after the ban expired? No, you can't.

    Jeff says ""The definition of assault weapon was written by the NRA."
    and
    "Further data on the effectiveness of the ban was outlawed by the NRA."
    and
    "Public release of the ATF data base reflecting firearms risk or lack thereof was prohibited by the NRA"

    Wow, anyone else notice Jeff acribing godlike powers to the NRA without any actual connection to relaity?

    Jeff, the FBI and ATF collect and publish the exact same data and statistics as they have for decades. They didn't stop publishing, nor does the NRA have the authority to change what they publish.

    Murder rates and violent crime rates are published each and every year. I've linked to the FBI web page that has the data multiple times. Please feel free to use that data to show us any correlation whatsoever between the number of guns in priovate hands and any category of crime.

  28. robert, that's because "violent crime" is the category the FBI reports on.

    But hey, if you want to use "gun crime" instead then please provide actual data on "gun crime" for us.....with source citations such as the FBI crime database, etc.

    So you say "Additionally, since the 1994 act expired, there has been an increase in gun crime."

    Great, please provide the actual numbers to back that claim.