Letters to the editor: Feb. 19

February 19, 2013 

Gun proposals off target, but they're a start

There seems to be very little resemblance to the gun control bills being proposed and the gun control battle being waged by so many.

What is proposed says nothing about small firearms, except for reasonable background checks. But if this also included a short waiting period, three people in Hazard might still be alive since the weapon in question was purchased several hours before it was used. A cooling-off period might have made the difference.

I do not question the right to own a gun for protection. But statistics suggest that, except for target practice and hunting, most of the use is by people who commit suicide on a particularly bad day, or accidentally or on purpose kill family and friends or people they have a small disagreement with, or — the worst thing —by children who accidentally or on purpose kill family or friends.

Of course it would be nice to have trained armed guards in schools, but where are they and the necessary funds going to come from? No matter how hard we try we cannot be guaranteed safety 24/7. Of course there are people with mental problems who need help they are not getting. But how do you identify them? Our mass murderers apparently showed unrecognizable signs. Even parents did not realize these problems, and some paid the price.

No, nothing can completely solve this problem. But can't we try to save some innocent lives even if it reduces gun industry profits?

Betty Rae King


Worth trying

I don't condone but do understand the profit and power motives of weapons manufacturers and National Rifle Association executives. The support of large numbers of law-abiding gun owners for the right to own even weapons of mass killing is not so easy to fathom. They are as horrified at senseless mass murders and street violence as are the rest of us.

The "slippery slope" argument makes no more sense than a call to eliminate highway speed limits on the fear that the government will next force us to drive only in first gear. Or try the argument that restricting gun and ammunition types won't eliminate all tragedies. But since when do we abandon the American spirit that says if something is worth trying, we do it?

And so, the only other explanation I can come up with is my memory of the passion my boyhood friend, Bud, and I had for the shining beauty and firm heft of our BB guns and the pure pleasure and exhilaration of blowing away rows of little rubber soldiers. Fortunately, we grew up.

Ernest Henninger


Guns, cars not equal

Jim Clark's Feb. 6 column, "Why stop at guns? Ban killer cars, booze, cell phones, too" is missing the target.

Automobiles are not designed to kill people. In fact, the industry has spent billions of dollars in research and development to find ways of preventing fatalities and adding safety to the operation of today's vehicles.

You have a whole contingent of air bags, dual-stage front air bags, side air bags, curtain air bags, as well as crumple-zone body frames, sophisticated braking systems, rearview cameras, blind-spot indicators, seat belts and more. This is in addition to all the regulation surrounding the ownership and use of a car, from registration to driver's licenses to mandated insurance.

As to who's responsible for the outright murder of a whole class of 6-year-olds at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we all probably share some of the blame. At what point do we say enough is enough?

Let us be realistic: People with guns kill people. You do not get to sugarcoat it with some sort of twisted logic.

Vincent C. Smith


Baseless argument

Please tell us why you gave 13 paragraphs to a writer who thinks the president, House or Senate is considering a complete ban on guns. Jim Clark, the retired engineer, based his Feb. 6 column on the premise that since cars, booze and distracted cellphone users "kill people" that maybe we should "ban them, too."

Did I miss something? Is the Senate talking up a total ban on guns? Is the president?

Can someone also tell this guy that for 100 years car manufacturers have steadily improved car safety in many ways and laws have been enacted to curb distracted driving.

As safety is needed in the things we create, safety is improved (this should be self-evident). We don't try to ban these useful things, we tweak them to make their use safer. If we follow the writer's logic, we wouldn't have anti-lock brakes or headlights. We didn't ban cars, we improved them to make them less lethal. Don't trigger locks make guns a little safer? Well, there's a tweak right there.

Gun laws may need some tweaking. I think that is the general argument being debated. Nothing more.

T.J. Neary


Reason to worry

I often hear and read comments in the media, including the Herald-Leader, that those who possess the so-called common sense behind more gun laws cannot understand why law-abiding owners do not trust them in their motives.

Well, there is a perfect example of the type of common sense the gun-control crowd is spouting coming from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who commands the love and respect of the media whenever he opens his mouth, no matter how ill-informed he may be.

Jackson has gone on record claiming that semiautomatic weapons "can blow up a railroad," and therefore all semiautomatic guns must be banned in the interest of national security.

"Trust us," says the gun-control crowd. Really? When the world-renown expert on guns, Jackson, is one of their spokespeople? I don't think so.

Most people want less violence and will gladly support actions that really yield that result. But when some of the headliners calling for the actions and making the demands are as ill-informed and blind to the facts as Jackson, those of us who know better grow fearful of the real motives and intent.

Therefore, we feel we must resist any and all of their proposals. The old saw, "give 'em an inch and they will take a mile," comes to mind.

Rick Music


Government control

The Second Amendment was put in the United States Constitution to protect the God-given rights of citizens from the prospect of a tyrannical government.

The Second Amendment has nothing to do with protecting the rights of hunters.

Why do we tolerate President Barack Obama and his administration in arming dubious rebels in foreign lands with assault weapons to fight their governments while the U.S. government seems intent on taking these kinds of weapons from law-abiding citizens in this country?

Some of the new laws being pushed in states around the country would require gun buybacks — confiscation — of certain firearms from law-abiding citizens.

As Patrick Henry proclaimed: "Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense?

Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the regulation of Congress?

If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"

James Kunkel


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