Las Vegas Sun

August 30, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Crime prevention is best gun control

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Someone who wants to stop a person intent on killing must have the means to do so. The Second Amendment provides for the means to protect one’s life or that of another.

Our society now rightly requires that to own and carry a gun, one must have a clean criminal and mental history, be proficient in its use, and be aware of the laws and safeguards necessary.

We cannot thwart disasters such as recently witnessed by outlawing bats or ropes or cars, or handguns, shotguns or hunting rifles. If we outlaw these guns, only criminals will have them. Guns are not the problem. However, unless you are active military, there should be no reason to allow the sale or possession of an automatic assault weapon.

We must begin by becoming more responsible adults, by becoming “whistle-blowers” when we know a person, family member or not, has a diminished capacity to control himself. Therefore, background checks might include confidential statements from those closest to applicants who apply to own or carry weapons.

In several recent tragedies, had teachers, janitors or security people elected to legally carry handguns, positive protective action may have avoided the loss of innocent lives. A cost-effective remedy might begin by hiring and training qualified jobless veterans in the application of behavioral analysis techniques and effective protective measures to eliminate the need for overburdened police at designated locations. I hope our lawmakers will consider this.

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  1. Since 2001 after 9/11 the level of violence, and the threat of it has increased throughout America.
    Being a free loving people we of course resist security where it infringes on our liberties, or reminds us that we are living in a society that is not as secure and safe as we wish it were.But the truth is that our nation and the world are more dangerous places and that accepting this fact is sometimnes difficult to do.Unfortunately this means that security at all levels is on the increase.Our safety at home and in the world are under increased threat. Guns are not the problem, and in fact many more are seeing guns as a means of protecting themselves from both domestic violence and the threat from terrorist intrusions planted in America.Finally, I am a supporter of placing armed security at "soft target" areas, including schools.We do not live in a utopia.

  2. We, Americans, have to reevaluate and regulate if needed the direct and consequential powers imputed by the First and Second Amendments. We also need to identify the reasons for spree killings. Until we do both, we are kidding ourselves with anything we do to prevent incidents like Newtown, Connecticut and Webster, NY.

    CarmineD

  3. People become Perpetrators when they see few if any other option. Sounds crazy, right? But do ya think it would have happened if the Perp had the option to another life style, any life style? Mom wanted the Newtown Perp to enlist in the military, to be more outgoing, to be the All-American guy but this was years too late--after years of bullying and abuse in public school. The Perp built up his own insulation and withdrew further and further. No one cared--when he was a young student. Again, I suggest half-way houses for offenders and indigents--so they have the option of learning what is acceptable behavior and what is not. You can't do acceptable? You go to the big house. Almost every body can figure that one out.

  4. "The Second Amendment provides for the means to protect one's life or that of another. Our society now rightly requires that to own and carry a gun, one must have a clean criminal and mental history, be proficient in its use, and be aware of the laws and safeguards necessary."

    Musaraca -- you almost got it right. The Second Amendment doesn't "provide" the right, it protects freedoms existing long before this nation was founded.

    In Nevada our state Constitution's Article 1, Section 11 protects this right, so long as it does not conflict with the federal counterpart you mentioned. And "our society" imposes both social and legal obligations. The first is social and non-mandatory, the latter is often blatantly unConstiutional. The real standard is found in our part of the state Constitution mentioned here.

    "Try explaining Hitler to a kid." -- the late George Carlin in "Brain Droppings" (1997)

  5. When we have 300 million guns in our country of 310 million people.Unfortunetly things will happen like we have just experienced in the east coast in the past month.How to fix and solve our sometimes reckless gun problem is open for debate.

  6. While well intentioned Frank Musaraca is an example of what is wrong with the gun control debate. Most gun banners and even a few pro-gun folks are ignorant of the law, the facts of existing gun laws and what is taking place.

    Mr Musaraca states "However, unless you are active military, there should be no reason to allow the sale or possession of an automatic assault weapon." There are three things wrong in one sentence:

    First - Automatic is a term that in the context of firearms means that if the operator of an automatic firearm pulls or presses the trigger of such a firearm fully to the rear and holds it there, the firearm will cycle (fire repeatedly) until it runs out of ammunition. Automatic firearms have been controlled and unavailable for sale to the general public since The National Firearms Act ("NFA"), 72nd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, 48 Stat. 1236, enacted on June 26, 1934.
    Semi-automatic is the correct term that applies here and means any firearm that when the operator pulls or presses the trigger of such a firearm fully to the rear and holds it there will fire only a single round of ammunition. Semi-automatic actually is intended to denote a firearm that is self-loading as opposed to one where the operator must take action to load the second and subsequent rounds such as a bolt action rifle.
    The AR-15s that are at the center of this controversy are semi-automatic firearms. Licensed firearms dealers may not sell, nor can one not possessing a special and extremely expensive license granted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms following the completion of extensive criminal background checks that take months at best, an automatic weapon.

    Second - Assault weapon refers to a fully automatic weapon. Semi-automatic weapons cannot by definition be assault weapons. No military in the world would equip their assault forces with semi-automatic firearms.

    Third - Of lessor importance but still indicative of the ignorance surrounding the gun debate is the statement about active duty military. The fact that one is an active duty military person does not legally entitle one to purchase an automatic firearm. The same rules apply to them. What the phase is intended to describe is that active duty military are authorized to have in their possession an automatic firearm that has been issued to them, while on duty -only. Firearms purchases for military units are generally purchased by the individual military service under DOD control and only specially authorized law enforcement are legally authorized to buy automatic weapons. You can't walk in off the street and say I'm a cop or a Marine and I want to buy an M-16, it doesn't work that way.

  7. BRASS (Dale Swanson): I disagree with your second point. The 1994 gun control legislation defined an "assault weapon" as being one of 19 specifically listed weapons and any semi-automatic rifle, pistol, or shotgun with a large magazine and other, specified, characteristics. Yes, the 1994 law has expired. That does not change the definition it provided and that is generally used. Most importantly, assault weapons are distinguishable by their appearance- which simulates military firearms.