Guns, guns and more guns……………

March 1, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 2nd Amendment supporter and a military veteran, guns have always been in my family. Like many of you, I grew up with them. When serving during the Vietnam War era, I carried an M1 carbine, a lightweight, high-powered semi-automatic war rifle with a 30-round magazine. It was not a adult toy designed for target practice a the local rifle range. It had one specific purpose: to kill people.

Military-style assault rifles, which are easily accessible, have no place in our public venues, our schools or on the streets of America. They can kill a very large number of people within seconds with their high-capacity magazines fully intact.

The Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) which was instituted in 1994 during the Clinton administration and withstood court challenges. Supported by former presidents Ford, Carter & Reagan (yes, you read it right), it placed severe restrictions on various semi-automatics and magazine capacities, including the AR-15 and AK-47, etc. Despite public opposition, Congress recklessly allowed the ban to expire in 2004, bowing to pressure from the gun lobby. In the meantime, mass shootings have skyrocketed over 200 percent.

Guns, in general, are a big problem in our country. Legally or otherwise, they have a way of getting into the wrong hands far too frequently. We have the equivalent of at least one for every man, woman or child – arguably a lot more, with an average of over 90 Americans dying each day from gun-related incidents. A recent World Health Organization report stated that among the wealthier nations, 91 percent of kids under 15 who have died from bullets are from the U.S.

As ordinary citizens, parents or grandparents, we must commit to doing better in protecting our children. What kind of warped society are we becoming when we allow our own selfish interests or exaggerated “Deep-State” theories to trump the common good?  Gun lover or not, let’s all come to grips with one simple fact: Mass shooters have no preference or concern for their victims’ position on gun control.  Everyone of us is at potential risk — especially our police officers and school-age children.

More guns is not the answer; neither is having 2-3-4 armed guards at every school door, or other soft “cosmetic” changes designed to pacify us in the short term.

There are a multitude of reasons why enraged, short-circuited mass killers are what they’ve become, and if you think these shootings should be treated primarily as a mental health issue (as some mistakenly contend) then why do other civilized nations not have a similar problem?  Because of tighter gun restrictions.

Our kids are counting on us. The first step for better insuring their safety starts with each of us. Support national organizations striving to effect gun-safety laws to keep our kids safer. Personally contact legislators and demand that they either demonstrate immediate, continued support for common-sense gun safety legislation or lose your support. Be vigilant.

Finally, we should be both supportive and  proud of so many of our nation’s courageous youth who are now taking charge and tackling the real problem, while striving to show us grown-ups (with some of us still kicking and screaming) the best way forward!

Lou  Kitchenmaster

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