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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown. Guns. Enough.

In the immediate aftermath of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., I kept hearing people say "this is not the appropriate time to discuss gun control." Baloney. This is the perfect time to discuss it ... and act on it ... while Friday's horror is still fresh in our minds.

A knee-jerk reaction is exactly what we need right now. This may be our last best chance to collectively yell "Enough!" and toughen our gun laws once and for all.

That said, here's where I stand in the debate:
  
I have liberal views on many hot-button issues, but I'm in favor of the Second Amendment. Let me say that again, so it's clear: I'm in FAVOR of the Second Amendment.

I have no problem with people owning guns, but I do see the need for reasonable limitations. A single-shot rifle for hunting? Fine. A hunting shotgun? Sure. A handgun for self and home protection? Absolutely. An AR-15 semiautomatic that can fire 100 rounds in a matter of seconds and kill 20 children? Um, no.

But rather than prattle on, I'll simply offer this: If anyone can make for me a cogent argument about why individual citizens need to own automatic and semiautomatic weapons that are intended for nothing other than killing large numbers of people in a short amount of time, I'll come around to that person's way of thinking and no longer will hold the position that our laws must change.

But I've yet to hear one good reason not to ban these tools of destruction and seize as many as possible that already are in circulation, and I doubt I ever will.

We know those weapons aren't used for hunting. We know they're not small and compact, like weapons needed for personal protection. And we know, from our recent history, that they are the weapons of choice for deranged people bent on carrying out mass murder.

And that, quite simply, has to stop.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Rita R. said...

Succinct and a quick read.
I also think we need to make mental health issues take center stage. We need well trained caregivers to help people who need quality attention. We're so afraid of creating madhouses of abuse like the ones that lead to the socialization of mental patients when we were kids, Jer. But now attention must be paid to people before they perform heinous and criminal acts. Don't you think?

December 17, 2012 at 1:58 PM 
Blogger Rita R. said...

Succinct and a quick read.
I also think we need to make mental health issues take center stage. We need well trained caregivers to help people who need quality attention. We're so afraid of creating madhouses of abuse like the ones that lead to the socialization of mental patients when we were kids, Jer. But now attention must be paid to people before they perform heinous and criminal acts. Don't you think?

December 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM 
Blogger Martin McPhillips said...

"But I've yet to hear one good reason not to ban these tools of destruction and seize as many as possible that already are in circulation,"

Read the Second Amendment. Familiarize yourself with its language. Its most important purpose is to protect precisely the sort of weapons you want to, in your fascist term, "seize." Weapons that can be used, in some cases immediately, by any adult or adults formed into citizen militias in defense of person, home, town, county, state, country against any type of violent assault, organized or disorganized. It could be a riot (Korean businessmen using their rifles to defend their businesses and their lives during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, for instance), gang violence, terrorism, looting, robbery, and so on.

Would you like it if someone entered the Freeman offices and ordered you under the threat of force to surrender your right to publish under the First Amendment?

Don't be so quick to judge the level of firepower required to repel a home invasion or to defend against armed assailants. That sort of thing happens all the time, and some criminals practice a very high level of violence.

You must also be aware that fully automatic weapons (i.e., real military-level rifles) have been banned in the United States since the 1930s, and what you call assault rifles are semi-automatics that require a trigger pull for every round fired.

You certainly can't be unaware of the things that governments have done and are still doing to their own citizens throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st. You think that it can't happen in this country? Why, you just proposed that the government *seize* the weapons that could defend against such abuse. That's how it starts, pal.

December 17, 2012 at 9:20 PM 
Blogger Martin McPhillips said...

Also, rent this, watch it, watch it twice...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034303/

December 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

Martin: In my blog, I wrote "But I've yet to hear one good reason not to ban these tools of destruction and seize as many as possible that already are in circulation, and I doubt I ever will."
Having now read your response, I stand by that sentence.
And spare me the silliness about the Second Amendment being intended "to protect precisely the sort of weapons you want to, in your fascist term, 'seize.'"
Our Founding Fathers, though having tremendous foresight, certainly never envisioned hand-held weapons that would be used almost exclusively by criminals to kill dozens of innocent, unarmed people -- children, no less! -- in an instant.

December 18, 2012 at 12:11 AM 
Blogger Martin McPhillips said...

You are just wrong about what the Framers of the Second Amendment anticipated. They were the survivors of a war where they had to use force to take the sovereignty of their individual states, jointly and severally, away from the most powerful military machine on earth at that time. They were talking about weapons necessary to the task, and that will by its nature change from generation to generation. Criminals will ****always**** have guns, and they don't pay any attention to restrictions, by definition. But they love a "gun free zone," because they know their work will proceed easily.

December 18, 2012 at 7:56 AM 

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