Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Gun laws must be part of discussion

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Any serious, thoughtful conversations about the routine slaughter of men, women and children in this “civilized” society of ours must include a close examination of our gun laws. People like me don’t want to take your guns away. Keep your guns.

But we have to get away from the notion that any common sense laws — limiting magazine capacities, better background checks, etc. — are somehow designed to erode the Second Amendment. Are we eroding the First Amendment by making it against the law to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater?

Talking about preventing future mass killings and not seriously looking at our gun laws is like talking about lung cancer and not mentioning cigarettes.

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Previous Discussion: 14 comments so far…

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  1. Rob,

    Two pistols in each hand plus two more in vest holsters with six rounds each equals a 24 round clip.

    There, I just got around your gun clip limitation.

  2. Anti gun zealots aided by liberal politicians are at it again.This time it is to target all gun owners, by requiring the ban of common weapons and clip sizes, and the registration of all guns. More freedoms such as those guarateed by the Secomd Amendment are under attack. Great Britain has already been through this gun ban idiocy and are sorry they ever dropped their guard and allowed it to happen--warn America against doing it.
    http://youtu.be/n9ZvwPmjJu4

  3. Everything should be on the table for discussion: Guns, shooters, and culture. The powers, both direct and consequential, imputed by the First and Second Amendment rights are guaranteed but still need to be regulated.

    CarmineD

  4. "But we have to get away from the notion that any common sense laws -- limiting magazine capacities, better background checks, etc. -- are somehow designed to erode the Second Amendment. Are we eroding the First Amendment by making it against the law to yell, "Fire!" in a crowded theater?"

    Powers -- you didn't think this one through. Your analogy is more like because I have a voice and MIGHT use it for offensive purposes, it's a "common sense law" it must be registered and subject to a background check before I can take it home.

    Future -- thanx for listing some of the many, many gun control laws already on the books, and prevented nothing. Obviously those laws and their enforcement failed.

    "Nothing that I read, including this article, would have prevented what had happened in Conn."

    SgtRock -- much as I hate to admit it, good post.

    "I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically." -- Henry David Thoreau 1849 "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience"

  5. I say get used to the carnage. It's a trade off for having the right own guns. Whatever new laws are imposed, they won't stop a nut case from going into a public area and shooting up anything that moves. You can put an armed guard in every school. You can arm every teacher. But it will do no good. We call them crazy people for a reason. Some can hide behind a mask of sanity long enough to get hold of a weapon. Or they can take advantage of a family member that owns one. You'll see. With over 300 million guns out there it has to happen again. Hopefully you or someone you know won't be one of the dead or wounded. So get used to it.

  6. Enjoyed the letter. But the first and foremost thing that needs to be accomplished is the complete and utter hamstringing of the NRA. Get rid of their loud voice in politics. And make sure people, especially our politicians, realize they are not the solution to the problem. They ARE the problem. Because they stand in the way of any and all efforts to enact common sense gun control legislation.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it. Everyone should enjoy unrestricted access to the Second Amendment. But if bodies keep piling up, innocent lives, then something needs to be done.

    The NRA and other pro-gun manufacturer lobbby groups have too much say in this matter. And they are mucking it all up. Because they just want to sell guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, more guns, and most guns.

    I totally understand they have their First Amendment rights to pursue this.

    But WE, the PEOPLE out here, are affected by all this. And WE, the PEOPLE out here, have First Amendment rights too. If we decided to shove a sock in the NRA's mouth and shut them up and their continual nonsense of arming teachers and buy more guns, then that's part of the solution.

    We need to make sure NRA's money thrown at politicians is not the deciding factor anymore.

    We need our politicians to sit in rooms and have meaningful discussions to come up with solutions so that Columbine, Sandy Hook and a whole host of other civilian massacre tragedies don't happen anymore.

    And they need to do it without NRA and those with an agenda in the room with them.

    This is what needs to happen first in order to get something done. Any other way will just bring us around full circle to where we are now. And the cemetaries will full up with innocent lives due to more instances of mindless violence.

  7. Carmine is right...everything needs to be on the table for discussion and solution. We need to establish some measure of control over the security of our schools, malls, theaters and other places attractive to those who wish to sow mayhem and we need to identify and treat those folks.

    Just as the Transportation Safety Administration and Air Marshal service have kept the airways safe we need a similar, cross-jurisdictional, Public Safety Administration. Mr. LaPierre of the NRA made a good suggestion in placing trained and armed security in every school. That, however, is incomplete. They need to be in every public gathering place....malls, sporting and entertainment venues, etc. Since so many of the mad shooters are wearing body armor and using weapons with rapid rates of fire and large magazines capacity, these guardians must be trained to the highest urban policing standards. While the notion of volunteers from the ranks of the NRA or National Guard troops is worthy, those selfless folk are simply not sufficiently professional.

    We also need to expand mental health screening and services to every community in this great nation. We do not want to miss any opportunity to bring help to those struggling with mental and emotional illness. All of us need to be vigilant and aware of those members of our families and our communities who exhibit signs of instability and a lack of respect for community values and standards. We need to overcome our reluctance to report on our families and neighbors. Once they have been screened and treated they will be quite grateful. After all, do you want to be the idiot who is always quoted on TV in the aftermath saying "I always thought he was a little strange."

    Finally we need to pay for these initiatives. We cannot expect to make our communities safe if we are not willing to pay the price....freedom is not free! I suggest a tax on firearms and ammunition sufficient to pay for these services since the preferred method of civilian mass murder is the individual firearm. Taxes could be graduated...your .22 single shot varmint rifle at a low rate while your multiple shot Bushmaster at a much higher rate; .22 short ammo at a low rate while high stopping power or fragmentation ammo much higher. Based on very rough estimates of firearm and ammunition sales in the US we could easily get started on this program by taxing those at 125% of the retail cost.

  8. "...the first and foremost thing that needs to be accomplished is the complete and utter hamstringing of the NRA."

    Colin -- so you want to suspend or eliminate the First Amendment. I will resist you and your ilk on that in every way I can.

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." -- Dick the Butcher in Shakespeare's "Henry The Sixth," Part 2 Act 4, scene 2

  9. All the other Bill of Rights "freedoms" have been limited. Religion? A Muslim in the UScan't have up to 4 legal wives. Press? We ban the grossest child pornography. Peaceful assembly? Try holding a political rally at five PM of a Friday on Las Vegas Blvd South a couple of blocks south of Sahara (for those in the south) or on Virginia Street between 2nd and 4th (for those in the north....). Speech? Go into your local movie house and yell FIRE! Quartering troops? Well - not a common action... To be secure in our persons, papers, etc? It takes the Feds a quick phone call to get a copy of your cell phone call history. Unreasonable search? Try going thru the checkpoint an the airport and keep your shoes on. Can't be deprived of life, liberty, or property without a trial? Unless you're in Gitmo. . . or support Wikileaks. Speedy trial? When IS the next trial at Gitmo? More important: When will be the LAST one? Cruel and unusual punishment? Bradley Manning wore leg irons in a 6 foot x 8 foot cell for 23 hours a day for 9 months, subject to full strip searches, required to stand naked at the daily prisoner head count, ordered to put down the blanket he used to try to cover himself. And he hadn't even been tried much less convicted of anything! I could go on, but. . .

    My point: Just WHY is the 2nd amendment so much more sacred that it can't take ANY additional restriction? (Note: it actually already HAS some restrictions - try going downtown to buy an RPG or a Stinger rocket and launcher. )

  10. To expand on what "renorobert" said, the Bill of Rights is a fabric. Pull hard enough at any one thread (Amendment) or even gently on a few, and the whole thing unravels.

  11. "All the other Bill of Rights "freedoms" have been limited. Religion? A Muslim in the UScan't have up to 4 legal wives. Press? We ban the grossest child pornography."

    renorobert -- excellent post! On your religion point, how about federal troops marching to the Utah territory to put down Mormons for practicing polygamy as part of their religion (I know, I'm descended from some of them)? All child porn -- among other offenses, it's today's thoughtcrime -- is banned and the prosecutions are extreme. Like a grandmother for snapping pics of her 3 yo granddaughter in the bathtub. Or teenagers for sexting -- they get to be their own victims. As you posted, the list is endless.

    "...Bill of Rights is a fabric. Pull hard enough at any one thread..."

    boftx -- another excellent post.

    "The struggle for liberty has been a struggle against Government. The essential scheme of our Constitution and Bill of Rights was to take Government off the backs of people." -- Columbia Broadcasting Sys., Inc. v. Democratic Nat'l Comm., 412 U.S. 94, 162 (1973), Justice Douglas concurring

  12. "The struggle for liberty has been a struggle against Government."

    The biggest bunch of crap ever spoken or written. Entirely nonsense.

  13. ""the Bill of Rights is a fabric. Pull hard enough at any one thread (Amendment) or even gently on a few, and the whole thing unravels." Not sure who said it first and/or who posted here first.

    If this were true, and it's not, the United States would never have celebrated its 236th birthday this year.

    CarmineD

  14. CarmineD,

    That is an analogy I have used for a long time, but I do not know if it is original with me (probably not since it is fairly obvious.)