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October 20, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Face it; we need to talk about guns

Another view?

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I am so saddened by the recent events in Oregon and Connecticut. These mass murders occur in our country with a frequency unlike any other country in the world — why?

I am neither pro-gun nor pro-gun control. I am only in favor of ending this insanity. I was born and lived my first 44 years in Canada and have never owned or even fired a gun in my life. I am now a U.S. citizen.

In a discussion with an acquaintance, I said I hoped these dreadful incidents would spur us to at least discuss alternatives that may prevent them in the future and got the traditional response — “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” My initial response was to reconfigure this insensitive gentleman’s nose — although it never happened, it was a distinct possibility. Now, let’s assume I had a concealed weapon in my pocket, pulled that out and ended the same guy’s life. I am the same person in both circumstances, and the only factor affecting this guy’s life was whether or not I used a gun to “express my displeasure.”

So I implore people of this great country to quit hiding behind weak justifications — stand up and face the fact that we have a problem and be willing to help solve it.

The Second Amendment gives all the right to keep and bear arms — I didn’t notice any language approving the use of assault weapons designed to kill groups of innocent people, especially little children.

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Previous Discussion: 23 comments so far…

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  1. I agree with BChap's assessment of the need for mental health treatment assets as well as not only banning assault weapons, but getting the existing ones out of the hands of the public.

    Bad guys (is anyone curious why these perps all seem to be men?) take on police officers that they know to be armed all the time, so an armed Security Guard is not a deterrence. In addition many mass shooters shoot themselves once their carnage is complete so they don't fear dying. The mystery to me is why they have the need to take so many others with them.

    If we continue permitting these weapons to be available to almost everyone, we need to have our heads examined.

  2. Jim, have you been paying attention to the "mass" murders going on in the Middle East? Shiites killings Sunnis like flies and vice versa; government thugs killing protesters in the streets; car bombings; Mosque bombings; open market bombings; and then, of course, there is Syria, where some 40,000 have been murdered by the Assad government and you say "mass murders occur here more frequently than anywhere else in the world?" You are kidding, are you not? How about closer to home? Mexico sees tens of thousands of killings per year from drug cartels that are as senseless and brutal as Newtown. Yes, one mass killing incident a year is one too many but don't go off on a tangent and side with those that are trying to unravel our Constitution with one "crisis" or another. The "useful idiots" won't be satisfied until we become just like Cuba, North Korea or their good old standby favorite, the failed USSR.

  3. By Mred,
    "I am glad Canada has strict gun laws,that means all the killing that took place between the biker groups in Montreal did not actually take place.It was a figment of people's imagination".

    About 183 people die from gun shots each year in Canada. About 30,000 people die from gun shots each year in the United States.There is no comparison between the 2 countries in death's caused from gun shots.

  4. BChap = "I fully understand, Jerry, everybody here is entitled to their opinion. Even those who have their own issues with reality."

    Well said BChap, planet Bizarro is a strange place isn't it? I can't understand how some people can twist reality using pretzel logic to buy into some conspiracy driven by paranoia.

  5. "Face it; we need to talk about guns"

    Robin -- face it, "we" have been talking it to death here for the past week, thoroughly, and really don't need to again. I see here some of the same posters posting what they've already posted several times.

    Your bit ""Guns don't kill people; people kill people." My initial response was to reconfigure this insensitive gentleman's nose" belies your hypocrisy. Mainly you're saying as an adult you refuse to control your own emotional reactions in a minor disagreement. Boiled down you admitted to being too immature to be trusted with the freedoms our Bill of Rights protects. You know, like a child.

    "Jim, have you been paying attention to the "mass" murders going on in the Middle East?. . . .Mexico sees tens of thousands of killings per year from drug cartels that are as senseless and brutal as Newtown."

    lvfacts -- good reminders. Watched a YouTube report a few months ago where Romney's cousins still in Mexico are fighting a nearby cartel. Mexico has strict gun controls, yet the lawless shoot and kill pretty much at will. Weapons courtesy of the very same regime We the Herd just voted back to business as usual.

    "When five and six-year old children are gunned down in their classroom the nation has passed the point of a national crisis."

    LastThroes -- and Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun control laws in this nation, see that @ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...

    "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

  6. I have not been able to find any reliable information that covers the source of guns used in crimes, but I'm sure someone has it, preferably from a government source.

    That said, I would like to see more emphasis placed on responsible ownership. This means keeping firearms properly secured when not in use, for starters. I think it would be reasonable to hold the registered owner of a weapon responsible in some fashion if they created circumstances that led to the illegal use of their weapon. (In other words, keeping a weapon in the nightstand when you are out on the town is to be strongly discouraged.)

    Not counting domestic violence for this, I would speculate that a large amount of gun crime is committed with stolen/illegally obtained weapons. Or in the recent case, through the irresponsible actions of the registered owner.

    I think it will be more effective in the long run to expand background checks to include those who could reasonably be seen as having access to a weapon if the owner failed to secure it properly as circumstances require. This means family members in virtually every case.

    Gun safes should be required for anyone with multiple weapons. Granted, weapons intended for home defense (i.e. a shotgun or handgun) need to be easily accessible, but anyone who allows it to come into the possession of an unauthorized person should be held accountable (even if the weapon is stolen or used by a family member!)

    Gun control begins with responsible ownership.

  7. This is somewhat on a tangent, but if we grant that mental health is part of the issue here, then I think this is legitimate.

    We hear dozens of ads everyday for prescription drugs that claim to help one with depression and other mental problems that all carry a warning to "call your physician immediately if you have thoughts of suicide ..." among other rather nasty side effects. Even a prescription to help one stop smoking carries the same warning!

    Is there any correlation between the number of people going off the deep end with attacks (of any type) and the number of prescriptions for these medicines?

    Is part of the answer something so simple as to let people self-medicate and "chill" with legalized pot, which to the best of my information would not require such a warning?

    And why are there ads for so many of these prescription drugs in the first place? How many people are being prescribed for these drugs simply because they saw an ad and then told their doctor that they thought it would help them, when in fact it might not be needed at all?

    How much of the completely unexplained irrational behavior can be laid at the feet of those who produce and over-prescribe these drugs?

  8. "The second amendment does not say anything about ammunition."

    notacon -- no, but that kind of thing chills the exercise of freedoms the Second Amendment protects. That can make it unConstitutional and void.

    "...I would like to see more emphasis placed on responsible ownership. This means keeping firearms properly secured when not in use..."

    boftx -- no, the emphasis needs to be on responsible USE. Your suggestion of "properly" securing hints at ignorance. In my experience when you need it you need it NOW, and you're stressed because your home has been invaded. Not the time to be fumbling with locks and wondering where you kept the ammo, etc. How I store my weapons is nobody's business but mine.

    Posters should watch "1984" then "Minority Report" for perspective.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken

  9. KillerB,

    I phrased that carefully, recognizing that a "working" weapon needs to be available at an instant's notice. Responsible use includes proper safety measures for weapons (of any type) that are not actually being carried at the time.

    Let's assume for sake of discussion that John Q. Citizen owns a shotgun, two hunting rifles of different caliber, a 10mm handgun and a .22 pistol. The shotgun and 10mm are intended for home defense, while the others are for hunting and target shooting.

    There is no reason that the secondary weapons can not be secured in such a fashion to minimize theft or misuse by others. And the primary weapons should be secured, too, when not under the direct control of the owner or an authorized user.

    Responsible use, as you put it, includes taking responsibility to prevent irresponsible use.

  10. Followup to the tangent.

    It is my understanding that drugs like Prozac and other anti-depressants work basically by making you not give a damn about things that upset you.

    If this is the case, then the logical question is what effect do they have on one's "moral compass?"

    Further out on the tangent, Prozac was introduced in 1987. This means that there is likely a significant number of children and young adults today whose mother might have been taking that (or a similar drug since then) while pregnant. Granted, the mother might not have known about the pregnancy at the time.

    This raises the question of what effect might have been produced in the developing embryo? What would a study of such children show us?

    In short, I think we must look far beyond the "simple" answer of stringent restrictions or outright bans and focus on the root causes for the seeming increase in irrational, violent behavior we see today.

  11. We should discuss what can be done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Talking is a good thing. If the only solution is to infringe on the Second Amendment, then we should talk about that, having an honest discussion. At that point, we can decide if we should amend the Constitution or leave it alone.

  12. Mental health in a violence based youth culture and domestic terrorism are the primary root causes of the violent deaths at issue here. The entire debate over removing guns from American society is a waste of time. Instead guns should be used to protect the innocents from these evil doers. The Second Amendment is ensconced in America's culture, and will remain. Guns are not to blame. Bad and sick people are. The are an estimated 300 million guns in circulation in the US. More are entering society every day.

  13. "Let's assume for sake of discussion..."

    boftx -- I have been between my child and a violent home invader, and unarmed. Have you? Since then a loaded shotgun with the safety off stays just inside my front door.

    The real point is so long as it stays there without using it for other than a lawful purpose, like brandishing it while threatening a neighbor, or worse, no one has the right to tell me what to do with it or anything else behind the closed doors of my home!

    "We should discuss what can be done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. . .If the only solution is to infringe on the Second Amendment, then we should talk about that, having an honest discussion."

    Victor_E -- first off talk of stripping the people of Second Amendment protections shows a profound ignorance of it. The Bill of Rights never covered anyone who truly trespasses on the community's domain. At present the a blanket condition of release agreements is no weapons or ammunition. I know, I have a friend charged with prostitution earlier this year and that was on the form.

    All living things have an absolute right to self-defense. Many convicted, particularly for non-violent crimes, don't deserve that prohibition. These Discussions mostly ignore the fact berserkers have no regard at all for any laws or other restrictions their prey abide by -- law-abiding then means defenseless.

    "Fear is the foundation of most governments." - John Adams "Thoughts on Government" (1776)

  14. Just noticed the new article here about the home invasion on N. Rainbow @ http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/dec...

    "The assailants barged in when the woman occupant answered the door. The intruders were met with armed resistance." What a different outcome if dad (presumably him) had not been keeping and bearing a firearm for defending his family and home.

    A front door peephole is a good idea, too!

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

  15. KillerB,

    Thankfully I have not had to do that. And I am not saying you don't have the right to take the steps that you have said or implied.

    What I do say is that given today's lack of gun education responsible owners must be aware of the potential consequences and must weigh many different factors in deciding how to treat their firearms. One of the hardest decisions to make is how to keep a weapon such as a shotgun handy while at the same time ensuring that those who lack the proper respect for firearms (for one reason or another) are not able to gain possession of it.

    Touching on your specifics, I would question the wisdom of keeping the safety off. In my opinion, it should be part of your standard procedure to automatically check and thumb it off by feel when you pick it up, just as it is SOP to remove the clip and then cycle the action to ensure a weapon is clear when inspecting one.

  16. "Touching on your specifics, I would question the wisdom of keeping the safety off."

    boftx -- nope, that's why I keep the chamber empty. It's reasonable to assume anyone knows the sound of a shotgun being jacked. After that I'm read with a tube full of buckshot.

    Again, when faced with a life or death situation forced on you by a guy who just beat in your side door with a sledge hammer, you act, not think. Stress blocks wisdom, even reasoning. A good example is the many rounds fired by cops, like the recent murder of two unarmed motorists @ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...

    "...government security is just another kind of violence." -- Rep. Ron Paul today @ http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/dec...

  17. Boftx: I, too, noticed that shotgun by the front door with the safety off. My very first thought was of a guy (read "idiot") here in the north who recently shot himself in the a** (rear end...) with a pistol. Safety off. In his pocket - it DROPPED out! In a THEATER!!! I was taught as a pre-teen: safety ON unless you are about to fire; properly secured whenever not actually in your hands; stored away from children.

  18. "I, too, noticed that shotgun by the front door with the safety off."

    renorobert -- opinions vary. Your example guy was just plain stupid.

    "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.

  19. renorobert,

    It sounds like you were raised pretty much the same as I was with respect to guns.

    While you and I might take that kind of attitude towards weapons for granted, it is obvious that there are some people today who don't.

    I'm pretty sure the majority of gun owners agree with us, but because there are those who don't know, I think we need to consider codifying the basics in law so at least some cases people will learn, hopefully before it is too late.

    Again, the Newton case would never have happened if the mother had been a responsible gun owner. (And one has to wonder just how many others knew she was allowing her son access to weapons and didn't voice concern.) The same can be said about the tragic accidental shootings we read about. Granted, it won't do a damn thing to stop domestic violence shootings, but it might keep a few guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.

    By the way, for those who want to ban assault-type weapons because they are basically only for military use, read US v Miller (1939) where it was implied (if not stated outright) that only weapons that were appropriate for a military setting were protected by the Second Amendment.

  20. Assault rifles are totally offensive, not defensive. They are not part of the defensive arms described in the Constitution. In the same sense, neither are Howitzers or grenade launchers part of defensive arms.

  21. SunJon,

    Where in the Constitution does it describe "defensive weapons?"

  22. Y'all are a bunch of loons. My guns and future guns are none of y'all's business. Guns are needed to protect us from the likes of the Obama lovers and the crap they do to normal Americans.

    Guns don't kill, people kill people; get use to it stop making excuses for people's sick choices. Crap, you do for the Obama lovers and look at the crap they do and you still don't get it. They do it because they can and know liberals will simply enable their lazy pathetic lives and their gang banging off spring and make some damn excuse for blame the working class for their poor lazy butts.

  23. "My guns and future guns are none of y'all's business. Guns are needed to protect us from the likes of the Obama lovers and the crap they do to normal Americans."

    its2hot -- you actually make a good point, when translated from redneckese.

    "...what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? 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