Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Take action on guns

November 14, 2017

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To the editor:

Mass shooting events seems to be taking place more and more often. We are almost numb to the special report that flashes on the television screen or comes across the radio waves these days. While these attacks are occurring with more frequency, the truth is they have been happening for many years. From 1966 to 2012, 35 percent of the mass shootings worldwide were American, according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama.

In fact, every day in the United States there are dozens of people killed by shootings. There is a way to decrease the number of shootings and make these horrific mass shooting events less frequent, and it is relatively simple. Pass common-sense gun laws such as restricting the sale of guns to those with mental illness and those on the no-fly list, background checks for those buying privately or through gun shows and banning concealed carry on college campuses. Polls show these issues to be favored by the public and yet there is no action from our elected officials.

Are we, the American people, going to continue to look the other way and then offer our prayers and condolences at each one of these terrible mass shootings while completely ignoring the dozens of incidents that occur on a daily basis? Let our elected officials know how you feel. The time to stand up for common-sense gun laws and to oppose concealed carry in public buildings is now!

Comments

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Another person who does not believe in Constitutional rights and is not informed about current firearm laws and prohibitions.

  1. People with mental illnesses are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms. However, we should do a better job of reporting people with mental illnesses to the background database

  2. No-Fly list - what other rights do you want to deprive a person of without due process. Just because you’re on the list does not mean you’ve done anything illegal.

  3. Gun shows - people buying guns from FFL dealers must have a background check even at gun shows.

  4. Private sales - where is the evidence that this is a problem that requiring background checks for private sales will solve. Sure many “private” sales occur that result in crimes but these people will ignore the law.

  5. Banning CC on college campuses - how many mass shootings have been committed on a college campus by someone who was CC permitted? A solution in search of a problem.

Once again a well meaning person without knowledge of current laws or concern for the rights of people puts forth solutions that focus on the gun and denying the exercise of a Constitutional right to law abiding citizens.

And once again, I say let’s focus on the root cause of violence. Let’s figure out why there are so many mass shooting in inner cities and why so many people are committing suicide and work to stop that violence. Once we do we will actually significantly reduce gun violence.

Carol Bowen 1 month ago

Everyone is aware of the standard talking points. It's time to get past the statements that shut down discussion. Let's draw out a reasonable discussion with questions before answers.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

The problem is many who are advocating for more gun control do not have a basic understanding of our Constitution or firearms.

For example, some call for an outright ban of all firearms. This is not currently a viable solution because the right to bear arms is a Constitutional right.

Then they cite Heller as evidence that the right can be reasonably regulated and they are correct However, where they fail is by being able to articulate how they would reasonable regulate firearms beyond the current laws.

They often throw out ideas like banning citizens from owning military weapons without understanding that civilians generally don’t own military weapons and they are not being used in the mass shootings.

Or they might say we need to ban assault rifles - okay but they can’t define an assault rifle. Current so-called assualt rifle bans specify cosmetic features of the rifle which are taken off to get around the ban.

One comment that amused me was to ban ammo intended to maim and kill. All ammo is designed to kill - even the lowly .22

They confuse semi-auto with full-auto.

And the best is when they throw out you have to be licensed to drive a car without being knowledgeable enough to know there are different standards for privileges and rights.

I agree with you about questions before answers. Why is there a propensity for violence and little regard for human life is the question I want answered.

Carol Bowen 1 month ago

How and why did the right to bear arms become a big issue? I had no opinions before all this?

Bob Smith 1 month ago

So Doug wants to throw due process out the window. Ain't going to happen.

Bob Summers 1 month ago

Start by banning congenital Liberals from owning firearms.

It should be attainable since the Liberal ones hate firearms.

Cary Ediger 1 month ago

Bob, for the love of ice cold beer please come up with something new.

Bob Summers 1 month ago

What do you have against science?

Cary Ediger 1 month ago

What does science have to do with your Liberal rants ?

Bob Smith 1 month ago

BTW, whatever happened to Fred? Did he get sent off the pitch?

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month ago

And today we have yet another mass shooting, while we dance around the problem of guns in a violent society and wring our hands crying out that there is no solution and it is what it is.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

California's strict laws didn't work. Why should the rest of the nation adopt a failed model?

William Cummings 1 month ago

Bob's fallacy this morning is cherry picking.

The California firearm death rate for 2015 was 7.7, below the national average of 10.5 California had the 8th lowest rate of firearms deaths in the nation. So there is evidence that the strict laws did indeed work.

Comments like the one that Bob posted here are examples of the propaganda technique of "stacking the deck". Learn more about propaganda at http://www.propagandacritic.com/

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Stats are good information but they don’t tell the entire story. For 2015 Murder and NonnegligentManslaughter Rate (per 100,000 inhabitants) CA had 7.2 and Texas he 4.8 for 100,000 inhabitants. So, you could on that stat say TX less strict laws prevent more murders than CA strict laws. However, as I said you just can’t look at stats for answers.

The truth according to me is we have a violence problem and it’s cause is complex and it’s solution must be multi-faceted dressing the root cause of viol3nce. Focusing on just one of the tools of violence is counterproductive. We have enough laws and now we need to get at the core of why people are so willing to harm others.

William Cummings 1 month ago

Where are you getting your numbers? The CDC website places California at 5.0 and Texas at 5.6. I would appreciate a link to your numbers if possible.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/homicide_mortality/homicide.htm

Yes, i agree, correlation is not causation. That is why fully funded and ongoing research is imperative.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Hmmm...rechecked the number and don’t know where I got the 7.2. Should have been 4.8 just like TX. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_in_the_United_States_by_state

Regardless, I agree with your points in this post. We have a violence problem in this country that is unacceptable and we must invest into research to find solutions to stop it.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

William, I was referring to the shooting incident yesterday. California's laws did not prevent it. No cherries were picked in the production of this post.

William Cummings 1 month ago

You used a single incident to characterize California as a "failed model" and ignored the broader data that suggests otherwise. Thinking that way is the fallacy of "cherry picking".

When you use the faulty thinking to persuade others, it becomes propaganda.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

P what is your solution. I’ve offered up numerous solutions but I’d like to know your ideas

Bob Reinsch 1 month ago

Nothing is going to change. Get used to it. Wear Kevlar.

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

The current president is taking a lot of flak for his tweet last night expressing condolences to the folks of the previous mass-shooting...not yesterday's shooting.

It seems to suggest he has a "standard mass-shooting condolence" template to tweet, in which he only has to change the name of the town where the most recent has happened (and forgot to change the name).

Does that tell us something about the problem of gun-violence in our country ?

Should we continue to ignore the problem until Hallmark comes out with a line of mass-shooting condolence cards ?

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Of course we shouldn’t ignore. What do you think we should do to address it?

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

I'd suggest gun-laws be enacted in the spirit of what the 2nd Amendment says, in the only words of the Bill of Rights qualifying any "right." Members of "a well-regulated militia" could legally possess a firearm. If gun-laws' first test is constitutionality, they should first accord strictly with what the Constitution says.

There are commonsense reasons to broaden that "right;" to law-enforcement officers, for example. Or as Canada and most European nations do, to hunters and sports-shooters as well, That broader "right" has worked well for them.

It would be commonsense too that that "right" be revoked for any person otherwise authorized to possess firearms, if they evidenced mental problems, or violence problems (domestic battery, etc.)

Bob Smith 1 month ago

"You" disarmament "people" keep using "the" term "commonsense". I do "not" think it "means" what you think "it" means. (scare quotes added for extra scaryness)"

William Cummings 1 month ago

Evidently in Bob's world, when tens of thousands of lives and tens of thousands of serious injuries are at stake, even lifting one finger to be part of a solution is way too much of a burden.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

If you are lifting your finger to pass laws that fail to accomplish their stated mission, yes, that is too much of a burden. BTW, what with Dorothy and William just making stuff up and claiming it's in my mind this week?

William Cummings 1 month ago

"...laws that fail to accomplish their stated mission..."

Of the ten states that have the strongest gun safety laws, seven have the lowest overall gun death rate.

In the 19 states that require comprehensive background checks for handguns, there are 47% fewer women killed by their intimate partners, 53% fewer law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and 47 % fewer suicides.

There is indeed evidence that gun safety laws can reduce gun violence.

What you have presented is nothing more than fallacious reasoning, turned into propaganda.

BTW, your claim that I am "making stuff up" and "claiming it's in my mind.." is a lie.

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

Sorry, B.S., I didn't mean to usurp your office as Keeper of True Definitions.

I humbly request you, please instruct me in how my delusional calling it "commonsense" (your quotation marks, not mine) to revoke the gun-"right" of mentally-ill people shows I'm speaking counter to The True Meaning of "commonsense" ?

Brock Masters 1 month ago

I see what you did there - well-played.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Unfortunately your read of the 2nd amendment regarding militias is wrong. It is n individual right. Don’t take my word for it - read DC v Heller.

Your last part about revoking the right is already law.

But thanks for starting the conversation.

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

Notice my criteria was "strictly...what the Constitution says." D.C. v. Heller's "individual right" is not what the Constitution says, but a much later interpretation by the Supremes.

Is it your contention that Supreme Court decisions never misinterpret the exact words of the Constitution, and never read into them something besides what the exact words say ?

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Okay so you’re saying I am suppose to accept you interpretation over that of the SCOTUS? That doesn’t make sense. Of course the SCOTUS gets things wrong, but until Heller is reversed it is the law.

But to look at it from your view, the Constitution doesn’t say only Members of a militia can bear arms, it just prefaces the statement that the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed with the militia language. A justification for the 2nd amendment perhaps, but not a limiting factor for bearing arms.

And look at what the founders said about who is the militia. It is the people. Also, the militia is separate from the government so in truth anyone can be considered the militia which is what Mason said. “ I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." — George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

See below.

Your belief that Mason's few words you chery-picked today are (as you said below) "absolutely" what a militia IS in the consensus understanding of the "Founding Fathers"...and by inference, is the meaning of "militia" intended by the Constitution...is dishonest, and wrong.

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

I'd also suggest a book I just finished: "Autumn of the Black Snake," by William Hogeland (it's at LPL). The thread running through this military chronicle of the post-Revolution years (including the Whiskey Rebellion, and Indian Wars in the Northwest Territory) is that President Washington had come to believe we needed a professional American army, in peace-time as well as in times of war..against Congress' (and citizens') hatred and fear of a "standing army."

There's a lot of well-documented information on what the "militia" was, and how the militia-system worked, at exactly the time-period the Constitution was being written and debated.

I'd highly recommend this book, and think it might give you a wider and more-nuanced view of what the Constitution means by a "militia."

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

Sure thing. And mainly I recommend it for its well-documented and well-written history of that critical period, of which the militia question is only a part.

On further thinking about the militia question specifically, and covered in that book: the Whiskey Rebellion would seem to give the lie to Mason's assertion that the militia is "the whole people." That President Washington and the other Founding Fathers raised troops to supress the Whiskey rebels clearly shows they did not consider every armed grouping of "the whole people" were what the Constitution meant by "militia."

Cliven Bundy and members of other current self-proclaimed "militias" should read more history, and less N.R.A. propaganda.

Carol Bowen 1 month ago

What were the objections to the Brady bill?

Bob Smith 1 month ago

It didn't accomplish a hill of beans.

William Cummings 1 month ago

Bob: look at what happened to the US violent crime rate starting in the years following the passage of the Brady Bill in 1992. Correlation is not causation, but it can be evidence.

Bob Smith 4 weeks ago

Since the decline has continued long after the Brady Bill was sunset, the idea of causation is pretty darned unlikely.

Ken Lassman 1 month ago

So let's get back to the common ground to see if we can start to chip away at a condition that nobody seems to be happy with.

How about supporting Brock's (and others) suggestions: 1) Free, quality courses (online and in person) on gun safety, storage and use. There are thousands of lives each year that could be saved/protected from injury if well established protocols were widely disseminated in a public education campaign and easy access to good information. 2) Comprehensive, effective and functional system to screen potential buyers in order to reduce gun suicides and homicides associated with domestic violence. There are clearly some issues to be sorted out here but the current system is just bad and could be greatly improved in ways that would preserve individual rights and reduce injuries and fatalities. 3) Strongly support quality research that is community-based and focused on what works and doesn't work regarding reducing violence in general and gun violence in particular. The current interpretation of the laws is outdated and clearly needs to be updated in order to address the chronic and increasing trends that need closer analysis if we hope to reverse them. We do this will other health issues and this should be no different. For instance, many laws are already on the books--research would help us tease out the most effective ways to enforce those laws and which laws actually help.

Ken Lassman 1 month ago

Well, Carol, William, Brock and anyone else who likes this list, copy it and paste it into a letter to your local congressmen and women (US Senators and Representatives) and tell them that you think it represents a starting place to begin to chip away at the unacceptable gridlock we have been stuck in while more and more people from all walks of life continue to be traumatized, maimed and killed. Tell them that you will contribute to their campaign if they publicly support these things and will contribute to their opponents if the opponent agrees and the incumbent makes no comments or disagrees. Maybe if enough people pick up this strategy, our "representatives" will listen.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Absolutely and there is enough written by the founders to support it.

I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." — George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

Besides cherry-picking a few words that you like, did you read any of the rest of the debate ?

There were further nuances brought up on the question of what should be legitimately considered a "militia:" George Mason himself, in his remarks following the dozen words you quoted, introducing some more nuanced thoughts.

There were differing views put forward on what a "militia" is, from other delegates, including Patrick Henry and James Madison. Some other delegates disagreed sharply with Mason. That's the nature of a "debate"...which this meeting was.

Mason's dozen words you quote did not represent the consensus view of the "Founding Fathers," or even of the delegates who debated on this particular occasion. Mason himself, in his same statement you quote from, spoke of other questions and nuances involved in his dozen words you quote.

You seem to believe the part of Mason's statement you like is the whole and final definition of "militia," then and now, case closed. Not so.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Madison did say that a well regulated militia composed of the people was the best defense of the country but he didn’t say you had to be a member of a militia to exercise your right to bear arms.

Regulated didn’t mean regulated by the government. If it did then show me what the regulations were that limited who could be in a militia and bear arms.

But all this is just conversation because the law of the land says it is an individual right.

Jim Slade 1 month ago

Everyone looks past the obvious solution... it's not banning firearms, it's banning the production, sale, distribution, and ownership/possession of ammunition.

Firearms become nothing but a blunt instrument if there is no ammunition for them. And the 2nd doesn't mention anything about the right to have ammunition.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Oh that is genius. Along those lines we won’t ban abortions, we just won’t license any clinics or doctors to perform abortions.

Or everyone can vote but we will only have one polling place since the Constitution doesn’t specify a certain number of polling places.

This is why we continue to have a violence problem - people want to take away a right without going through the proper process of either repealing or amending the Constitution resulting in distrust and an unwillingness to seek compromise.

Brock Masters 1 month ago

Steve Hicks - you raise good points on what the militia is. I agree Mason’s words are not the final say in what a militia is, but it really doesn’t matter. There is no definitive description of what a militia was intended to be by the founders and the 2nd amendment doesn’t state you must be a member of a militia to bear arms.

I do think that the founders believed a militia of the people was important to the defense of the country but they also believed that an armed population was important in preventing an oppressive government. Regardless, the Constitution states the right of the people....not the right of the militia or the people belonging to the militia, just the people.

You disagree with me -,I get it, but fortunately for me the SCOTUS agrees with me.

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

"You disagree with me -,I get it, but fortunately for me the SCOTUS agrees with me."

As you said above, what the Supremes said in the "D.C." case is the current law. That's the way it is until that decision is overturned.

But do you think it is "fortunate" that the Supremes made the basis for legal gun-ownership rest on each citizen's perception that s/he needs "protection:" from whoever, for whatever reason: and that every individual has the "right" to fill in the "who" and "why" blanks any way they choose ?

Brock Masters 1 month ago

I do. I believe that people have a right to self-protection without reliance on the government. I also believe that people have a right to be armed as a deterrent to government protection and finally, I also believe that the people have a responsibility to be ready to defend their country from enemies. You and others might think I am a nut job for this, but while we generally rely on our military for protection, if all heck ever breaks out and we are invaded I and many other Americans will defend our country.

I really don’t think it is hard to imagine Russia or China attacking us if they perceive we are vulnerable. Russia has invaded other countries in recent times so why not us if they thought they could win?

Any you just never know when a terrorist may end up in your backyard - think Boston bomber.

Like I’ve said in many recent posts. We have a violence problem and we need to find solutions but taking away my right will not fix the problem but it will stop the conversation.

Steve Hicks 1 month ago

So how is regulation of who can possess firearms, or what firearms can legally be in individuals' possession "take away" your "right"...unless you hold that every individual has the absolute "right" to possess any firearm s/he wishes ?Are any of the other "rights" of the Bill of Rights absolute, and unlimited ?

A famous Supreme Court justice observed that the First Amendment confers no "right" to "falsely shout 'fire' in a crowded theater." Did his ruling "take away" the "right" of free-speech: or simply state the commonsense that that freedom of speech is not absolute and unlimited ?

Brock Masters 1 month ago

All rights can and should be reasonably regulated. Firearm ownership and use are already regulated and I don’t oppose the regulation of them provided it is reasonable.

I do oppose regultions that offer no value or protection and serve to infringe upon the rights of law abiding citizens.

The oft quoted you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater is misunderstood. You can yell fire if there is a fire but you can’t yell fire to panic and harm people. The same with guns. You can’t fire a gun in certain areas because of the potential to harm people. This is common sense and reasonable.

What I oppose are the high costs to get a concealed carry permit as it harms the poor just like a poll tax or the ban of weapons of civilian weapons and accessories.

I’m good with the restrictions that are similar to the ones applied to the first amendment. Would you be okay with the government banning the use of certain words and making it a crime to use them? Or to require a background check and pay a fee to use the internet? These are the type of gun regultions I oppose.

William Cummings 1 month ago

A universal background check requirement would not have prevented him from having that firearm.

Ken Lassman 1 month ago

But a universal background check requirement would quite possibly have saved hundreds if not thousands of other peoples' lives.

Bob Summers 1 month ago

If the congenital Liberal had any intestinal fortitude, they would unify and mandate each other should not be allowed to purchase firearms and firearm accessories.

A show of profound unity to their own, and to people not like themselves, would send a powerful message illustrating what the Liberal is all about.

Unite Liberal! Unite!

Bob Smith 1 month ago

How's about we try enforcing the laws that are already on the books before passing more laws? For instance, if you lie when filling out a 4473 form, you should be facing charges. "..The report shows that, between 2008 and 2015, the FBI denied 556,496 gun purchases following background checks. During that time period, the report shows that only 254 false statements were even considered for prosecution, amounting to a 0.04 percent prosecution rate..." http://freebeacon.com/issues/prosecutions-lying-gun-background-checks-fall-new-low/

Ken Lassman 1 month ago

So I presume you support allocating additional funds for federal and state officials to review the veracity of the forms, create a website where other citizens can report false statements and hire additional staff to handle the increased number of prosecutions, right?

Bob Smith 1 month ago

As usual, you presume incorrectly. I support enforcing the laws we have. There's no need for a website for citizens to denounce people who they suspect have broken the law or perhaps people who they simply disagree with. Every police department has a phone number.

Ken Lassman 1 month ago

Oh, so you think that your little reminder will turn the tide of inadequate resources being dedicated to enforcing existing laws. That way you can continue to complain about how existing laws aren't enforced and nobody will have to do anything differently. I get it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month ago

I'm all for putting limits on guns that kill fast. The other side of the issue is the Libertarian conservative's ravage of our mental health system. 30 years ago the family's of the last two mass murderers might have been able to commit them to a mental health hospital. But no. Libertarian psychologist Thomas Szasz convinced people that severely mentally ill people have the capacity to decide if and when they get treatment. It became almost impossible to have someone committed to a mental health facility. The politicians loved it. They started cutting funding to mental health facilities. And then cut back oversight of private facilities. So even if you talk someone into going into a hospital there are few to go to.

So where are all these mentally ill people? They are beating helpful women to death. They are buying guns and killing lots of people. They are beating wives and molesting children. They are on the internet spreading stupid conspiracy theories. But, hey, everyone can buy a gun and not be afraid of being forced to talk to a head shrinker, right? What could go wrong? Well, we are seeing what could go wrong, aren't we?

Brock Masters 1 month ago

“I'm all for putting limits on guns that kill fast.” Guns don’t kill fast or slow - it depends on shot placement for how quickly a person will be killed.

Another well-meaning person commenting on a subject on which they obviously know little about.

I will give Dot props for her knowledge of farmers. Until her post on training I didn’t know all farmers were well trained on the use of firearms.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

Speaking of people spreading stupid conspiracy theories. "....But the drug companies can't get rich, so they have to get people addicted. I wonder if they are getting a kickback from the drug cartels who take over when the addicted can't get anymore prescriptions..."

Brock Masters 1 month ago

I can support this gun control measure provided it doesn’t get mucked up with gun bans.

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators led by GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas introduced legislation Thursday to boost compliance with the federal background check system following a Texas church massacre that may have been prevented if authorities had reported the shooter's violent history. The bill penalizes federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records and provides incentives to states to improve their overall reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The bill also directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.

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