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Hot Topic: Second Amendment and public safety

The Monitor continues to receive considerable mail on the topics of gun control and the right to bear arms. Here’s a sampling of local opinion:

Chiefs are taking responsibility

Re “The ‘Month of Guns’ raffle? Is this a joke?” (Monitor editorial, Jan. 17):

You are off point in criticizing the raffle of 31 guns being held by the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. The association is a worthy one which began selling tickets for the raffle in October and promptly sold out. It is common, almost routine, for associations such as this to raffle off items to raise money for causes, and to supplement budgetary constraints in these tough economic times. It shows a high level of integrity and a willingness to raise the money they can and impact the tax base as little as possible. Simply, it’s taking responsibility.

I applaud you for the well-written and educational essay. You listed a handful of raffle items and noted that the money raised would support the fees associated with youngsters interested in attending the Police Cadet Training Academy. Where I take exception is the premise of the editorial in calling the decision to host this raffle embarrassing for the state.

We are all touched by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and across the nation. Could the New Hampshire Association of the Chiefs of Police have known that, just a few short months later, the tragedy in Newtown would occur? Did they have a crystal ball and foresee that they scheduled a “Month of Guns” event in the center of a renewed debate about gun control?

Did the Monitor have a problem with this in October?



What if we came
up with $30,000?

To Paul Donovan, president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police:

Many residents are greatly concerned that your organization is running 31 weapons – including some assault weapons – into our communities with your gun raffle.

When I was on Arnie Arnesen’s radio show recently, she came up with a wonderful idea: People like me, who think your gun raffle idea is a breathtakingly bad one, should make an honest attempt to raise $30,000 for your cadet program. And she has offered to help!

My question for you: If we can raise $30,000 for your cadet program before May 1, will you turn those guns over to an entity that will destroy those guns? If we give you a check for 30 grand, will you return the $30 to those 1,000 raffle participants?

Say “yes” to us and we will get busy providing support. Let’s get past all this, and help the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police regain the public trust.



Big lies

President Obama is a hypocrite. He is asking Congress to impose tougher penalties for gun trafficking. Meanwhile, he and the attorney general through Operation Fast and Furious put more than 2,000 assault weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Additionally, Obama’s drone strikes have killed innocent women and children in the name of fighting terrorism. Such incidents go unnoticed by the media and his supporters.

Obama runs roughshod over the Constitution, issuing executive orders whenever Congress does not support his proposals. The media and progressives railed against President George W. Bush’s abuse of power; however, now that their man is in the White House, everything is okay.

The media have been derelict in their duty to report all the facts, good or bad. Case in point: The alleged Bushmaster AR-15 used in the senseless killing of innocent children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary was not found on the killer, but, in fact, in the trunk of his vehicle.

The federal government has turned out the biggest propaganda machine since Stalin or Hitler. Hitler’s minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels was correct when he stated if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, the people will eventually come to believe it.



Republicans must stand up to far right

What is it about guns? We love our cars in America, but no one objects to their yearly registration and inspection. We value pain killing medications, but no one objects to controlled substances or doctors limiting how many pills they will prescribe in order for patients to avoid addiction or overdose.

In the case of guns, there is a vocal minority who refuse to consider any legal limits. Do these folks really believe their arsenal could match the firepower available to the government, should it inexplicably turn on its own citizenry? Those on the political right claim they are defending freedom but are prepared to punish any of their elected representatives who moderate their positions or attempt to compromise to serve the good of the nation.

The far right prefers that our country go down in flames, rather than find common ground, and they call it patriotism. When will responsible Republicans stand up to the those in their ranks who throw a tantrum whenever the majority of Americans try to tackle a serious problem like gun violence?



Violence begets more violence

I was in the March on Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I think the extreme violence on the Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965, served as a catalyst, a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, and led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. So also, I think the extreme violence with six adults and 20 schoolchildren killed in Newtown, Conn., may well be the catalyst needed for real change, a turning point not only in gun control but also in the gun culture of our nation.

In guns per population in the world, the United States is second only to Yemen – a dubious distinction. In the month after Newtown’s mass shooting, 900 more people in the United States were murdered by guns. More Americans are killed by guns in one year than have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Eight-five percent of the children in the world who are killed by guns are killed in the U.S. Enough is enough!

While guns on their own do not cause violent crime, the accessibility of guns facilitates such. It’s easier to buy a gun than adopt a pet. Let’s limit the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to the military and law enforcement. Otherwise, their job is more difficult. They need to have the upper hand.

We need to practice less violence and more non-violence in what we watch, think, say and do. As King said, “Violence begets more violence.”



Government is selling guns

How many people know that the U.S. government is engaged in selling “assault weapons” to the public?

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a U.S. government-chartered agency devoted to supporting firearms programs for the public benefit, with special emphasis on youth education. The CMP was created by Congress in 1903. It was administered by the U.S. Army until 1996, at which time Congress created a federally chartered 501C3 corporation to take over the CMP. It receives federal funding primarily in the form of surplus rifles and ammo from the Army’s inventory for sale to the general public.

U.S. citizens not otherwise prohibited can purchase a military surplus rifle or ammo from the CMP if they are a member of a CMP-affiliated club, of which there are 30 in New Hampshire. Notably at least one of the rifles they offer – the M1 carbine – is among the ranks of “assault weapons” under both the (defunct) 1994 gun ban and recent proposals for its reinstatement.

(However, not surprisingly, they are currently sold out of the back-ordered M1 carbines!)

Everyone is free to draw, if not jump to, their own conclusions. But with just a slight stretch of imagination, we have the U.S. government itself, hands “dripping with blood” along with the NRA, promoting the proliferation of “assault weapons” to children, at the same time that it contemplates banning them outright. Wherever there’s an irony, you’re likely to also find subtle complexities, too.



We have the right
to self-defense

Re “Misreading 2nd Amendment” (Monitor letter,
Jan. 17):

Bruce Currie is mistaken. The Second Amendment specifically reads that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The Supreme Court later re-affirmed it was an individual’s right as well. How else did colonial farmers defend their homesteads against more than the Redcoats if they didn’t own guns first?

I’m a rural, law-abiding citizen who was forced to confront two daytime burglars with my own “semi-automatic assault weapon” (also called a hunting rifle with a scope) before calling the police, so don’t tell me. What about preventing another mass murder like Sandy Hook? The police can only catch criminals after a crime. Enforcing new “feel-good” mandates costing billions of dollars won’t work. The police are underfunded trying to enforce existing laws, never mind actually finding the over 300 million guns in 40-50 percent of American households as reputable reports all indicate.

Democrats will never win future elections since more people will simply vote Republican just to keep their rights not only to shooting sports and hunting, but to simple self-defense as well.



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