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October 24, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Gun rights and slain children

Another view?

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In your Jan. 16 edition, you showed a picture of a 6-year-old girl from Colorado holding a sign that read, “I Heart the 2nd Amendment.” I wonder, if she had been one of the beautiful, innocent children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, would her parents have that statement engraved on her tombstone?

And why was a state senator so against having all firearms registered? If the gun owners are not criminals, it should not be a problem. I can’t help but wonder how people would be reacting if it had been their child slain so horribly.

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  1. You miss the point letter writer, as many do who are emotionally charged but factually blind. Gun laws penalize the law-abiding citizens not the criminals. Washington DC and its recent experience with a 100 percent gun ban law is a perfect example. Check it out for yourself. Crime committed by gun violence went up in DC during the ban not down. Now, I know the argument is that guns came in illegally from Virginia and other states. But this argument supports the gun rights defenders.

    CarmineD

  2. Author, cite an example of when a monster, a thug or a criminal did not offend because of a gun law? Think before you post next time.

  3. "And why was a state senator so against having all firearms registered? If the gun owners are not criminals, it should not be a problem."

    Ludlow -- you've combined the two main purely emotional appeals usually preceding unConstitutional government moves: "it's for your safety" and "it's for the kids." Both are cheap and transparent.

    "You present the wrong value argument, registering guns and slain children. Would a registered gun have prevented any school shooting?"

    RefNV -- excellent points usually lost in the recent Discussions raging here.

    "Washington DC and its recent experience with a 100 percent gun ban law is a perfect example. Check it out for yourself. Crime committed by gun violence went up in DC during the ban not down."

    CarmineD -- another excellent post. I would add the U.S. Supremes' Heller v. District of Columbia addressed all that in 2008, yet nearly all here seem to be wilfully ignorant of it.

    "The right says they are "pro-life" yet they support the death merchants and the gun lobby. Go figure."

    MotorSports -- again, what part of the Second Amendment/Article 1, Section 11 do you not understand?

    "...the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. (slip opinion at 64) (2008)

  4. We don't have significant gun legislation for the same reason that the United States is the only country in the world with the exception of Mexico that has for-profit medicine. Thousands of lobbyists in Washington.

    Between the 3000 medical lobbyists and the gun lobbyists they control the whole town. Millions of lives are being destroyed by medical care that no one can afford and guns that are injuring millions.

  5. "You are citing a Supreme Court case that specifically says there are limits on the Second Amendment. I don't think you meant to do that. LOL."

    MotorSports -- besides once again proving what a wilfully ignorant buffoon you are, your post misses the point again. I've never posted the Second Amendment or any other protected liberty is unlimited. What is expressly limited is government infringement on the liberty itself. Both the Heller and McDonald cases explain that exhaustively. I post quotes directly from them while you only point to a website with commentaries, nothing direct. Showing you have yet to read Heller's 157 pages.

    "There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment's right of free speech was not, see, *e.g., United States v. Williams, 553 U. S. ___ (2008)*. Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for *any sort* of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for *any purpose*." -- District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. (slip opinion at 22) (2008)

  6. Washington DC and Chicago are classic examples of why gun legislation has to be federal. You can't ban guns in Las Vegas if you can buy them in Henderson and North Las Vegas. Guns like drugs are big business in this country. People acquire them, take them to the places where they can get the most money and sell them.

    Do you have any idea how much it costs to care for the 300 people a day that are getting shot?

    I went to the fund raiser for the bouncer that got shot in the Pac-Man Jones shooting several years ago. Paralyzed from the neck down. Over his lifetime his medical costs will be in the millions of dollars and work comp is only going to cover part of the costs. This is just one guy!

    So many guns are used for illegal activities the entire industry should be sued out of existence.

  7. Through the years significant restrictions have been placed on all types of firearms as well as their uses. Fully automatic weapons, selective fire weapons, short barreled weapons, silenced weapons, explosive ammunition, armor piercing ammunition have all been restricted. The frontier towns had significant restrictions in the 1800s. Restricting military type rifles and high-capacity magazines is no different than the above.

    There are literally thousands of gun laws in the United States. When the 1994 assault rifle bill was passed the NRA didn't even bother to try to stop the legislation because they knew they would've lost had it gone to the Supreme Court.

    Most of the people that get killed in this country living lousy ZIP Codes. Blacks, Hispanics are the ones getting shot in the inner-city. In the next 24 hours 300 people are going to get shot. If those 300 consisted of the Koch brothers, the president, Nancy Pelosi, Warren Buffett,Rush Limbaugh and Bill Gates you would see massive gun restrictions by Wednesday. People don't give a damn about a bunch of minorities shooting each other.

  8. The United States has 10s of 1,000s of gun laws on the books and what did they do to protect those 20 children and their teachers? Nothing! Did the creepy-crawler with the weapons give a rats-ass about gun control laws? He was Hell-bent on destruction and nothing was going to stop him unless - there was someone on campus with some fire power to do so. Note that he killed himself as soon as the police showed up but by then it far too late. So, puleeze, quit trying to "infringe" our Constitutional and God-given rights to defend ourselves because you want to "feel-good-about-yourself" or are a "bone-head, brain-dead, bleeding-heart, pinko-leftist."

  9. "Washington DC and Chicago are classic examples of why gun legislation has to be federal."

    zippert -- you're being too short-sighted. The feds are already in overdrive to make the states irrelevant. All criminal law with few exceptions is up to the states, not the feds. Have a look @ http://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/cr...

    "Guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people."

    Victor_E -- for the sake of argument I disagree. It's the intent behind the finger that pulls the trigger that fires the gun that does the killing. Guns and bullets are only tools for the intent.

    "The United States has 10s of 1,000s of gun laws on the books and what did they do to protect those 20 children and their teachers?"

    lvfacts -- an excellent point lost on too many here. The current situation in Mexico is an excellent example. After our present re-elected regime supplied the outlaw cartels with thousands of assault weapons they are using them to control all around them in a country which has a ban on all private, unlicensed firearm ownership.

    "...imagine a shop owner in the midst of a riot and he says he needs multiple rounds to protect his store and his family." -- Robert Levy, a driving force behind the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/...

  10. SOME of the gun owners are criminals--the guy who aimed at first responders after setting his house on fire had been convicted and served time for MURDERING HIS MOTHER WITH A HAMMER. But we have parole boards who let violent criminals out for a second, third, fourth chance.... The solution: Lock up violent people. Keep them locked up.

  11. I will never be able to forget the faces of those children. I couldn't let my own daughter go while watching, I had to hold her close. I've been around weapons my whole life, military service, ciilian service, and always felt people had the right to own what was legal. As much as I realize that banning and limiting magazines isn't the solution to the next tragedy, it is time for better regulations, stricter and more stringent background checks and common sense with storage. I have biometric safes at home and in my vehicle, accesssible by me only. The part that should worry people is that these shooters all had or were described as being high intellect subjects. The next could simply adapt and find a way around any changes made. There are many issue to explore, but the issue is something that has to be dealt with.

  12. Jeff: Unfortunately there is no way to ensure that all owners use appropriate safeguards to keep weapons away from violent, convicts, children. We can greatly reduce the amount of violence by ending our tolerance for violent crime. Once violent, a person must be removed from society. Any mind that thinks it's OK to harm another human because he wants to or needs to CANNOT BE REFORMED. "Involuntary manslaughter" might be an exception. Vehicular homicide NOT an exception. Flagrant disregard for others IS violent behavior. No matter what legislation can be enacted, there is no way to locate and remove all the assault rifles AND handguns (semi- to automatic) out there. (Dingus, nice catch, Zippert is incorrigible but so far nothing violent.)

  13. Flagrant disregard for others propagates and proliferates. That applies to all people, not just criminals.

    What are we doing and thinking as a people to create the imbalances that are gradually destructive of society as a whole?

  14. Sadly, you are correct, there is no way to ensure that all owners are safe owners. An LEO here in town forgot his weapon was on his nightstand, let his child sleep in the room. When the child woke up, he saw the gun and knowing his father said guns are danderous, picked it up to take to his father. He pulled the trigger and shot himself. Thankfully he survived, but this shows you are correct. I agree with you, if you commit aviolent act upon another you forfiet the right to ever touch a gun. I wish we could find a way to resolve our diferences without name calling, petty gripes and other ways to degrade those who don't agree with us. I know I'm a flawed human being who doesn't have all the answers, thats why I enjoy speking with others and seeing different perspective from people of all walks of life. We have to work as one to find solutions, regardless of what political affiliations. If I a republican, can vote for Abam twice because I fell he;s the best for the job, then others can to All it takes is a leap of faith.

  15. People seem to have lost empathy for each other. Drive around Las Vegas and you will see road rage happening everywhere. Accidents happen because people are in too much of a hurry and care only for themselves. Gang memebers don't care who gets shot when they take aim ata rival, if you're in the way, too bad for you. We have become a fractured society, where if you inadvertantly bump into someone or step on someones shoe by accident, it's an offense that can get you beaten, stabbed or shot. People claim that it's respect, when true respect is when someone says pardon me i'm sorry, you don't respond with a fist. Even opinions have become fighting words. If you don't agree with what someone says, you are called names, your intelligence is questioned and so on. What has happened to talk, discussion to solve problems. The saddest thing about the gun control issue is that now people are racing out to buy whatever regardless of actual need. today 5 people were injured at different gun shows. From what I read, none of these individuals who cuased it meant any harm, but these are the exact people who don't need to handle a firearm, because they don't understand even basic safety. Everytime this happens, responsible gun owners cringe and shake their heads, because perception can be as bad as reality. The NRA certainly doesn't help matters by releasing dumb vidoes and embarrassing themselves on TV. They set responsible gun owners back to the stone age with their actions. I hope the country can find a way to come togehter and create common sense solutions.

  16. Teamster you hit the nail on the head. I believe that actiuon must be taken. While I still belive that the nest nut is out there and can adapt to any ban, I have had to re-evaluate my thoughts on weapons. Living in an urban enviroement an AR 15 doesn't make sense to me as home defense. I know people will say law enforcement uses them why can;t the average person. it's simple, training and ammo. Long guns are only used when you fear the threat has a long gun and can engage you at a distance. Handuns are fine until 25 yards, then the accuracy gets spotty at best. If the bad guy is 200 feet away a long gun is the best answer. Home defense will be in a short enclosed space, probably 5 to 7 yards at best. 12 gauge shotguns and handguns are made for this purpose. If someone lives in a rural are a long gun makes sense, the distance can be much better. Some people have suggested revolvers while they serve the purpose, forensically they suck. No cartridges left behind to use and identify. I speak from experience, I've trained in close quarters fighting in the miltary and active shooter scenarios in civilian life. I hope to God I never have to respond to another active shooter, but it will happen. I can only say the chaos is unreal. People who aren't injured are nontheless emotionally scarred by the incident. the carnage seen by the first responders stays as well. I do belive their is another shooter out there somehwere and maybe a ban on military style wepons isn't the answer, but we have to do something. I don't care if its stringent and yearly background checks, mandatory enhanced ccw training, or higher standards to purchase a weapon, something need to be done and now. I wish I had the answer I really do. i hope we can find a way to come together, these children who dies deserve our attentiion to this matter. Thanks for yor time.

  17. In Port Arthur, Tasmania on April 28, 1996, Martin Bryant, used a semiautomatic Armalite rifle and a semiautomatic SKS assault weapon to kill 35 people. John Howard, Prime Minister led a successful legislative action to ban military assault rifles and institute a weapons buyback program in the same year.

    Amazing success and safety prevailed.

    In the 18 years before the 1996 reforms, Australia suffered 13 gun massacres, each with more than four victims that caused a total of 102 deaths. There has NOT been A SINGLE massacre in that category since 1996.

    A study by the American Law and Economics Review found that gun buyback scheme cut firearm suicides by 74 percent.

    Australia still allows personal ownership of guns but these are for defense only. Military weapons belong only in the hands of military units, i.e. State militia organized for the common defense.

    In 100% of the cases where weapons are limited to defense only, the homicide and suicide rates drop dramatically. This is reality, something that is highly detested by a large fraction of the population in this country today.

  18. "We have a bastard Patriotism, a sarcasm, a burlesque; but we have no such thing as a public conscience. Politically we are just a joke."

    - marginalia written in Sam Clemens's copy of "The Future in America; A Search After Realities" by H. G. Wells

  19. Jeff Bradley gives very good information about the effectiveness of different types of weapons and environments.

    I think he is a responsible and sensible gun owner, with training and experience.

    Jon Becker shares the experience of Australia which seems responsible and with impressive outcomes.

    I find it difficult to understand the extremes of behavior and thought about guns in the US . The intransigent attitudes that prevail cause me more concern than anything. They lead to accidents and deaths.

    Because of this, I think comprehensive mental health exams need to be a part of licensing. That can identify not only the mentally ill, but also people with mental instability. Neither should be licensed.

  20. SunJon,

    John Howard commissioned the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to monitor the effects of his ban....so let's see what they (and the researchers they hired) have to say about it:

    1. While gun suicides fell, suicide by other methods (particularly hanging) rose at the same rate.
    http://www.biomedexperts.com/Abstract.bm...

    2. The lack of mass shootings since 1996 (which isn't even 100% true as there was one in 2002) can NOT be attributed to the gun ban. Before the ban Australia and New Zealand both experienced mass shootings and the rate did not differ significantly between countries. However since 1996/1997, neither country has experienced a mass shooting event despite the continued availability of semi-automatic longarms in New Zealand. The authors conclude that "the hypothesis that Australia's prohibition of certain types of firearms explains the absence of mass shootings in that country since 1996 does not appear to be supported" if civilian access to certain types of firearms explained the occurrence of mass shootings in Australia (and conversely, if prohibiting such firearms explains the absence of mass shootings), then New Zealand (a country that still allows the ownership of such firearms) would have continued to experience mass shooting events."
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?a...

    3. The head of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn, said that there is no definitive evidence that a decade of restrictive firearms laws has done anything to reduce weapon-related crime.
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/gun-...

    Sorry Jon, but Australia isn't the gun ban success story you seem to think it is.

    But hey, even though the studies he commissioned told John Howard that the law he fought for was the responsible for any actual benefit it didn't stop him from ignoring his own paid experts and writing an opinion piece for the New York Times "claiming" huge success for the law. Funny how he chose to leave out all that "science" and "data" though.