Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

There’s precedent for unlikely change

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There was a time we could smoke everywhere, including movie theaters, airplanes and the supermarket. Then the surgeon general’s report came out and told us cigarettes will kill us. We were told that the tobacco industry was too big and the only thing we possibly could get was a label warning us of the danger.

Now, smokers have to search for an area that allows smoking.

We listened, we acted and we did it.

There was a time we could drink and drive. Even if we were pulled over, we would just get a stern warning. After many accidents and deaths, especially among teenagers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving was formed.

Now people receive tickets, have their licenses’ revoked and can receive a jail sentence. Bartenders now can refuse to serve you if you seem inebriated. We have designated drivers.

We listened, we acted and we did it.

Now we are told that the ban on assault weapons is impossible. The National Rifle Association is so powerful it will never let it happen. The only thing possible is a universal background check, and even that is not a sure thing.

When you picture a 6-year-old so riddled with bullets that their body is torn apart, you know we will listen, we will act and we will do it.

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  1. We kid ourselves when we paint all things as bad or good. Most are both depending on the facts and circumstances of their usage. Democracy is wonderful except when it shouts down the voices of the minorities. Then it's evil. Fascism is cruel except when it educates the masses and increases the literacy rate of the country. Then it is wonderful. So it is with guns. Inherently, they are neither good or evil. They don't bite like snakes and poison and kill people. It depends on how and who uses them.

    CarmineD

  2. Newman!!

    What about the 18th amendment? That was a precedent as well. How did that workout Newman?

    "During the 1920's Prohibition, the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages were restricted or illegal. Prohibition was supposed to lower crime and corruption, reduce social problems, lower taxes needed to support prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. Instead, Alcohol became more dangerous to consume; organized crime blossomed; courts and prisons systems became overloaded; and endemic corruption of police and public officials occurred."

    http://www.1920-30.com/prohibition/

  3. God bless you Roberta ! The blood of innocent chidren is on these ogre's hands . Limited capacity "magazines"and assault weapons ban now!

  4. Future is it the democrats fault that the mentally ill are untreated homeless and ignored ?

  5. Regardless of whether legislation comes from the left or right, we should be guided by EVIDENCE, not ideology.

    Sadly, there is no evidence that limiting magazine capacity or banning scary-looking rifles will do anything to prevent mass murders. The Virginia Tech massacre - the worst spree killing in U.S. history -- was committed using handguns.

    What this sort of push will do, however, is prompt gun enthusiasts to resist ANY efforts to curb gun violence -- including things that probably would have some effect, like universal background checks and increased funding for mental health services.

  6. I was an usher in the Alhambra Theater in the '50s and for your information, Newman, smoking was not allowed as long as 60 years ago. Try being a little honest in your assertions, lady!

  7. Here's how actual evidence factors into this debate. Gun control advocates commonly pose the question: "Does anyone really need more than 10 rounds for home defense?"

    The objective, evidence-based answer is this: Yes, in fact, they might.

    Among police officers, a "hit ratio" of 30%, meaning that 3 of every ten shots fired actually strike the subject, is considered quite good.

    Source:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/nyregi...

    If police officers, who receive extensive firearms training, miss >70% of their shots, should we expect better from homeowners?

    A homeowner with a weapon holding 10 rounds may be lucky to hit even once, and there's no telling whether one hit (or two or three) will be sufficient to stop an attack.

  8. Perhaps a better idea is a direct attack on the NRA - as Michael Bloomberg did in the recent Illinois Democratic Party special primary. Make it known to the candidates/incumbents: "You take money from the NRA? You support the NRA position? Under NO circumstances will I vote for you! I will vote for somebody, anybody, else." Few elections have only one acceptable (no, I didn't say "ideal") candidate - in the few that do, vote "None of the Above" or don't mark your ballot at all for that office. Alternative? Spread the news to candidates that in last November election, the NRA got less than a 1% payback on their total contributions. Their candidates/positions lost FAR more often than they won. Whatever you choose to do - publicize it as widely as you possibly can!

  9. Ms. Newman,

    The Second Amendment notwithstanding, please consider the following two concepts.

    1) People are still smoking and dealing with the consequences of their actions.

    People are still drinking & driving and dealing with the consequences of their actions.

    People are still shooting others and dealing with the consequences of their actions.

    Smoking and drinking are not illegal - certain actions are. Owning a rifle is not illegal - certain actions are. Making either or all of these illegal will only serve to turn otherwise honest citizens into criminals.

    2) Please describe to me what an assault rifle is.

    Regards
    Purgatory

  10. massacre control now !

  11. Diane Feinstein described an assault weapon in her bill which expired during that book of revelation administration.

  12. Once upon a time you could buy any gun you wanted to in the good ole USA, then tragedy struck the nation with mental cases using guns to go out and kill people for no reason at all and the federal government thought what a better time to start attacking gun owners rights. The feds were so excited with the chaos created about guns that they jumped on the bandwagon and took the reins and started to push new laws to change the 2nd ammendment and take peoples rights away from them. This worked so well that the anti gun people cried "more laws more laws" and the government obliged the people. Then when all the gun rights were finally gone the government took even the anti gun peoples rights away. When the anti gun people cried foul there was no way to fight the corrupt government and the former gun owners said "we told you so" , so then nobody had any weapons to fight the government from taking control of everything they did and nobody had anything to call thier own because the government not only took thier rights away but also all thier posessions and nobody lived happily ever after , the end.

  13. We need cost-effective government programs. When we write blank checks to some programs (K-12, higher ed, medicaid) we cannot afford essential programs such as mental health programs. Many seem to be "forced over the edge" of mental health / mental illness because many individuals are unable to deal with life on their own. While this is not an I.Q. issue, intelligence is a factor where an otherwise uncontrollable situation can be overcome with intelligent choices, family interaction, money (such as inherited funds), career assistance (such as Mommy seeing you have a hi-paying job), church and community opportunities..... Clearly K-12 provides limited dissemination of options available. High school kids get little coverage (in electives, Social Studies, anywhere) of options they may have if they locate those options. For many teens and young adults, there is no meaningful input by "parents." So when graduates or drop outs are "put out" on the streets with limited means of finding employment or income and negligible means of finding a place to live, eat, chill, many individuals use their own "devices" to make do. And of course, many of the choices they make are poor choices. Choices could be instantly improved, materially, by K-12 teachers including the subject matter in their classes. English teachers could assign a paper on "what you would/will do when," and almost every class can address "current events" and work the subject matter into things.

  14. I don't recall the stats but it's something greater than 25% of us will at one time or another in this life face "mental illness" or stress so severe we "need" assistance. During such a time, one is susceptible to poor choices.... There but for the grace of God go I.

  15. At 10:17 AM Emthree wrote "Here's how actual evidence factors into this debate. Gun control advocates commonly pose the question: "Does anyone really need more than 10 rounds for home defense?" And then goes on to argue that the accuracy rate of the police justifies assault weapons in the hands of laymen.

    Unfortunately, the validity of his argument passes right over his head. Recently, trained professionals in New York were faced by an armed suspect shooting at them. They returned fire. The result? They fired 36 rounds at the suspect, wounded NINE innocent bystanders, and managed not to touch their suspect.

    Now, imagine a rifle with a 30 or 50 round magazine in the hands of an untrained, befuddled homeowner. 30 to 50 rounds fired in a matter of seconds. Just how many innocent bystanders will fall before a single possible assailant MIGHT be damaged? (emphasize that word 'possible. In mid-December a homeowner shot and critically injured his granddaughter after being awakened by "an intruder." Read it at http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/203... - yeah, that actually IS Fox News...) Maybe Biden had the right answer - a couple of blasts from a shotgun. Short range, no real "aiming" required. just point it. Although I suspect many intruders would be deterred simply by the "chunk-chunk" of a round being pumped into a shotgun.