Las Vegas Sun

April 24, 2015

Currently: 76° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Civilized societies regulate guns

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

When will this madness stop? It is not just the National Rifle Association, although the group is certainly a major part of the problem. The minute someone of authority advocates sensible gun laws and the outlawing of automatic weapons and clips that can hold up to 90 rounds of ammunition, the pro-gun advocates like Robert Witcher immediately think the government is trying to take all their guns away and “only the bad guys will have guns.” (See Witcher’s letter, “It’s a mistake to disarm good guys.”)

When the Second Amendment was added to our Constitution, I’m quite certain our forefathers did not envision automatic weapons that are only designed to kill other people. I am totally not against the right of any qualified person to own a gun for protection, hunting or just target practice. This is every American’s right. However, lately this country is becoming a nation of hatred and violence. Many video games are so violent, young people become immune to the senseless slaughter.

Gun laws must be strengthened and gun shows should not be excluded from taking background checks on buyers. Every gun show should have someone from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives on the premises to ensure these background checks are legitimate.

No other civilized country in the world comes close to the number of violent gun deaths that occur in this country in a year. Of course, no laws can guarantee there will never be anymore gun violence, but maybe they at least cut down on this senseless slaughter.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 23 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Yesterday, Saturday Dec 22, 2012, the last of the fallen angels from Newtown, Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School were buried. Tuesday is Christmas Day. Many of us will be ecstatic with joy. Not so the friends and families of the Sandy Hook victims buried over the last week. Pray for them and their strength and comfort. This is there time for mourning and grieving. Not the time to discuss the First and Second Amendments [Christmas]. But a time to celebrate the meaning the Founders and Framers had for all the amendments: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


  2. Banning the sale of certain weapons and closing the gun show loophole are reasonable steps, at least in my opinion. We must not, however, see such steps as any kind of a panacea for the violence and murder in our society.

    Guns are a 'tool' used to execute violence and murder. They are not the 'cause' of the violence and murder. For the 'causes' of the violence and murder, we need to look at ourselves, our values, our priorities and the society we've all created and live in every day. This where the 'causes' are to be found and it is also where any solutions that are available are to be found.


  3. As Commenter Jleemd99 so aptly stated, "The big elephant in the room is that we already tried an Assault Weapons Ban back in 1994 and it was a failure. It did nothing to prevent tragedies like these (ex. Columbine). Even the DOJ admits that it was a failure and that reinstating it would have minimal effect, so why are we considering something that didn't work before? We need to look at mental illness and why we are defunding support for the mentally ill in our society."

    Commenter CarmineD is absolutely right about this is a time for grieving and also reflection. Commenter Michael Casler calls for us to "...we need to look at ourselves, our values, our priorities and the society we've all created and live in every day. This where the 'causes' are to be found and it is also where any solutions that are available are to be found."

    The real problem is with the people, not the inanimate object gun. It is the person, their mindset and values that procures that gun and pulls the trigger. In that equation is the balance or lack thereof in their mental health.

    Our country has done nothing but CUT mental health services in the last 25 + years, and society is feeling the consequences of this. This is the real challenge before us, to do whatever we can on a personal level, as well as reaching out and supporting those in need. Parents need to take some responsibility in the quality input of what their children are putting into their minds, souls, and spirits.

    My own children would tell you that we did without the television and many video games for many years, as I did not like what was in the offerings. As adults, they appreciate the difference it has made in their outlooks and values; as children it was explained and they understood. Instead of seeding bad thinking, these children grew up with exploring the outdoors, learning to play music, socializing at our local recreation centers, churches, visiting the beach, zoo, wild animal park, theater, musuems, and more. As a family, we ate together and we played games together. Parents need to take responsibility in rearing their children.

    Here in Southern Nevada, I have seen a real disconnect. THAT gravely concerns me. The solution does start with each one of us, and also advocating for the very needed and necessary social safety net of mental health services for those in need. We must find the balance between the ability to violently destroy and be safe. Good thinking will lead the way and get us there.

    Blessings and Peace,

  4. Star makes an excellent point about mental health services. But until that changes there are an unknown number of potentially dangerous people who will never have contact with mental health professionals or law enforcement before striking. The least we can do is limit the lethality of the weapons that are available.

    Does it make sense to require background checks on 2/3 of the guns sold but allow 1/3 to be sold at gun shows without one? Is there any reason a 10-15 round ammunition clip can't serve any legitimate need of the public? Are we going to leave banned weapons and ammunition magazines in the hands of the public like we did during the alleged assault weapons ban in 1994-2004? If we can't do sensible things, why would we expect to live in a world that makes sense?

  5. I think most people are overlooking the real issue. When you have a country with 300 million guns laying around, there has to be some collateral damage and by damage I mean deaths of unsuspecting and innocent humans. You can do all the background checks and limiting of magazine capacities you want but some nut will get control of an unsecure firearm(s) and kill a bunch of people before any armed or unarmed person can react. And that's just a fact. So get used to it.

    We all have desires to protect ourselves and our families. In an emergency when you call on the police to save you from a dangerous felon, you are forced to wait a ridiculous amount of time before they arrive because they're so busy already or too far away to respond in a reasonable amont of time. I don't know about you, but I'd just have to take matters into my own hands rather than die on hold. And I'm a liberal.

    So maybe they should just leave things the way they are since what ever petty thing they do do will be of no help. Just wait. What ever it is will just be annoying and have no effect on insane people getting thier hands on dangerous weapons.

  6. There is no such thing as a "civilized society". It is something to be aspired to but never actually realized.

  7. As a law-abiding gun owner, I was nodding my head in agreement until you made the following statement: "Every gun show should have someone from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives on the premises to ensure these background checks are legitimate."

    The BAFTE is likely the most corrupt, ineffective, and uncontrolled departments in the country.

  8. Ammo ammo ammo ! If ammunition buyers had to undergo security check then people with mental problems can be stopped from buying 100s of rounds of fragmenting bullets to use in his stolen or street purchased firearm . Then legal sane firearm owners will be the only ones with bullets

  9. The dumbest argument for gun control: "When the Founders added the 2nd Amendment they didn't envision automatic rifles that," yada, yada, yada. Yeah, and they didn't envision SUVs, TVs, same sex marriage, jet aircraft, microwave ovens, etc. So what? What they could or could not forsee is irrelevant. What they put down on parchment is and the 2nd Amendment is one of many. Some think they didn't mean for everyone to have freedom of speech - only those that agree with their point of view. Should we eviscerate the 1st amendment to meet their wacky notion? Or, how about stopping the press from reporting things politcians don't want revealed? Ditto to the 1st. The Constitution is not a toy - something to be played with. It is what stands between us and anarchy and tyranny. Be very careful of what you wish for as it may come to pass and you may be quite disappointed with the results.

  10. Simply put when you have over 300 million guns in the hands of 80 million Americans,people will die needlessly.Duke of death is spot on with his assessment on this.

  11. The premise that regulating guns in this country is some type of new concept is ridiculous. We've been regulating guns for 150 years. Some of the the wild West frontier towns didn't allow firearms within the city limits. They were able to reduce homicides to a couple year. And for the most part those took place on the outskirts of town.

    When the gangsters started slaughtering people with submachine guns and automatic rifles we put limits on the purchase of those weapons. I don't think anyone has been killed in the last 40 years with a machine gun in this country.

    We also have limits on short barreled rifles, silenced pistols, grenade launchers and many other weapons depending on what city you live in.

  12. The NRA advocates creating a list of the mentally ill, but this would have never stopped Adam Lanza since it was his mother Nancy who bought the guns.

    Paying licensed medical doctors to identify the mentally challenged for addition to a danger list is a useless, bottomless money pit that will create millions of dollars in lawsuit expenses when the proud family member discovers that their little Johnny was put on a nut list and has had his 'freedoms' limited. (The shame of it!!)

    Creating a list of the mentally ill by the way, was personally approved by Adolf Hitler and nearly all of those listed children and adults disappeared before the war was over. The NRA says they are protecting America from Nazi policies, yet even this morning, Wayne Lapierre has advocated those same NAZI policies on national television.

    The fact is, that any one who believes they need an assault rifle and 2-400 rounds of ammunition to feel safe driving to and from work is exactly the person who should be on the nut list and banned from owning any guns.

    In Britain, the death rate due to gun fire is about 0.25 per 100,000. In America, it's 10.2 - 40x more. About 20 children are killed every month in separate gun violence incidents around the US, yet the NRA and it's lobbyists sued to prevent pediatricians from asking children in their offices about guns at home. This is the true NRA at work: deceit and hypocrisy.

    Britain and Australia, two very civilized and intelligent western countries are much safer places to live because of weapons control.

    Ban assault rifles: they are designed to maximize killing potential in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of dollars. Not one single Constitutional right will be violated.

  13. As a foreigner (Canadian) it amazes me how differently Americans and Canadians view guns and gun control.
    Bowling for Columbine contained a segment which illustrated our vastly divergent views from yours.
    It is my strong opinion that, as a starting point only, automatic weapons and the special ammunition clips they use should be absolutely prohibited except for law enforcement. The next phase of gun control should take effect five years thereafter, and that would make it a serious crime to own or possess any automatic weapon. Americans would be required to turn in such guns to the authorities in exchange for some reasonable compensation.
    A civilized society has no need of such destuctive weapons.
    Having lived in Canada all my life, it may surprise the posters here to know that I am 65 years old and have never handled or fired any gun, not because I loathe guns, but there has never been any reason to use one. I suspect that it is a rare American senior who can state that he or she has no personal experience with guns.

    Donald Desaulniers (FromBellevilleCanada)

  14. A civilized society is what we as a nation strive toward. Many nations strive towards a civilized society, for that matter, but obtaining an elevated level of civilization is relative to one's understanding what it is to be gracious, urbane. All Cultures struggle to advance in the way of civility, which is a struggle against ignorance. The dominance of an isolated tragic, distressing incidence in a society doesn't determine the enlightenment or refinement of a people or country. Quite the opposite, when these horrific occurrences happen we pause and reflect on how far we have come from an unfriendly, blase, Huckleberry Finn culture.

    The Second Amendment has nothing to do with civility. Folks without understanding might point at assault weapons as uncivil or the danger of mentally unbalanced individuals with guns as reason to abolish the Second Amendment. But wait, the Second Amendment is not about that, it is about the people's protection from a tyrannical government, and true, muskets were the order of defense then as the most modern weapons, yet there is no stipulation prohibiting the people from equal weaponry protection from the state.

    Furthermore, it is unconstitutional to ban citizens of any weapons or require citizens to register their weapons, and it is de-facto limitation of the Second Amendment, people's right to weapon ownership.

  15. What a bunch of bull. So criminals, the mentally ill, children should all be allowed to have any kind of weapon they want? Good luck with that one!

  16. Yeah, the drug cartels get their money and high capacity weapons from the US. Even the fool in Norway used a mini 14. The US gun industry provides the labor and guns for every nut in the world.
    Mexico is an example of the cancer caused by gun proliferation. It is anything but "civilized".

  17. "When will this madness stop? . . . . . No other civilized country in the world comes close to the number of violent gun deaths that occur in this country in a year."

    Zodin -- this issue has been done to death here the past week. And I seriously doubt your last statement, since most countries don't have the ever-present free press we do, simulating public opinion.

    "Guns are a 'tool' used to execute violence and murder. They are not the 'cause' of the violence and murder."

    wtplv -- good reasoning, lost on most in these Discussions.

    "Parents need to take responsibility in rearing their children."

    star -- an excellent point. I found reading to my kids when they were young set had much to do with their attitudes later. They're still readers.

    "The BAFTE is likely the most corrupt, ineffective, and uncontrolled departments in the country."

    Lowjiber -- just one of many federal agencies deserving your description, but it's a good start. That its brazen Fast & Furious blunder is absent from these Discussions, and those responsible kept their jobs, shows me We the people have become We the herd.

    "I think TV is very educational. Every time someone turns on a TV, I go in the other room and read." -- Groucho Marx

  18. zippert1

    Obviously your mordant comment is absurd. I can only deduce that you believe criminals, the mentally ill and children should not have guns for which you will find no argument from myself or any of the commentators here. But under the current circumstances, it seems imprudent to think that banning firearms is the answer. (see my earlier post)

    Some citizens think that perhaps we could make the process, i.e. background checks more efficient, but even if everyone was forced and complied to registering and going through a second extreme background check and round capacity was limited to five rounds/mag--you'd still have a mass shooting now and then and probably at the same rate as we have them now. I suspect the government is aware of this.

    I also suspect the government knows that the only way to make a serious attempt to reduce a significant number of gun fatalities in this country is to 1)severely restrict firearm purchases and 2)remove as many firearms in circulation as possible. Needless to say, people who have had to use their weapons in self defense would not like that solution. People who'd like to be prepared to defend themselves would not like that solution. And if you've ever had to wait on hold when calling 911 while someone is being assaulted, or while you're home is being broken into in the middle of the night, you wouldn't like it either.

    I submit to you that it seems implausible for the government to start confiscating firearms at this point. So we must for the time being accept the consequences of the Second Amendment and try to work within the framework of it. With the number of guns available people need to be more aware of gun safety and security in their homes because these weapons aren't going anywhere until we, the collective people, feel secure enough to exist without them. That my friend is a long way off based on our current infrastructure.

  19. "How is that Civilized Society known as Chicago doing with their strict gun regulations?"

    Bob_R -- struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court mid-2010.

    "In the midst of the current hysteria let us not overlook the fact that approximately 200,000,000 legally owned firearms of various types in the USA killed no one today."

    tontogany -- "legally owned firearms" is a misnomer, since our organic law protects keeping and bearing them without government infringement.

    "...the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. (slip opinion at 64) (2008)

  20. Bob could read up on the complexities but why bother when thoughtless questions are all that is needed?


    teamster -- you don't get to decide for others. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently confirmed all guns are primarily for defending self and family. Since in my lifetime federal agents have put families under siege in their own homes and then killed them -- Waco and Ruby Ridge -- the ol'.22 squirrel gun just isn't good enough.

    "The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to . . . fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." -- West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette - 319 U.S. 624, 638 (1943)

  22. "KillerB, struck down in 2010? Then why are so many people fleeing Chicago because they are prevented from defending themselves?"

    Bob_R -- I see you didn't bother to look it up for yourself. blekko takes about a second searching for _ mcdonald v. city of chicago (2010) _ For the latter, why would you expect me to answer that?

    "There are two kinds of people who stand out in the United States today: sheep and wolves. Sheep stay in their herd and follow their shepherd without questioning where he is leading them. Sheep trust that the shepherd looks out for their safety" Wolves, on the other hand, do not aimlessly follow a shepherd" Wolves question the shepherd and act in a way that forces the shepherd also to question his decisions. Wolves challenge government regulations, reject government assistance, and demand that the government recognize and protect their natural rights..." -- Judge Andrew P. Napolitano "A Nation of Sheep" page 10

  23. Ah, the same old errors.

    SunJon says "Britain and Australia, two very civilized and intelligent western countries are much safer places to live because of weapons control."

    Really, then how do you account for an increase in murder rates, violent crime, and gun crime in the UK in the decade since the passage of strict weapons control laws? (An 89% increase nationwide)

    How do you account for the Australian goverment admitting that their gun control laws had NO effect whatsoever on crime in Australia?
    (Don Weatherburn, the head of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research said that the level of legal gun ownership in New South Wales increased in recent years, and that the 1996 legislation had had little to no effect on violence. In 2006, the lack of a measurable effect from the 1996 firearms legislation in Australia was reported in the British Journal of Criminology.)

    So neither country became "safer places to live because of weapons control". One becaome much less safe and the other had no measurable change.