4-4-13 NYA Times Letters to the Editor

Why penalize society for one individual’s mistake?

To the editor:

It was inevitable that some incident(s) would resurrect the gun control debate and sadly Sandy Hook Elementary was that catalyst. At this time we do not know what new legislation will result federally or in Minnesota. There are however, some issues to consider as this topic moves forward.
The debate is focused on what new laws that should be created in order to keep society safer. What is lacking in my view, is a comprehensive analysis over what existing laws are falling short, being poorly administered or even ignored. I submit to you the recent Oberender case where pertinent data was not entered into “the system.” We the people, thought they, the government, was doing their job. Evidently not. Additionally, how many felony firearm possession charges are dismissed when prosecutors make deals to forego jury trials? How aggressively are “straw purchases” investigated?
It is clear that many elected officials have little knowledge about firearms in general. Minnesota Democrats left a hearing room recently when safe firearms were displayed for educational purposes. How closed minded are they? How credible does Sen. Feinstein look when she picks firearms to ban because they look “mean”? And yet, these are the ones who we trust to make informed decisions? If these new laws are so important, where were the politicians on the day before Sandy Hook? I submit that political expedience has taken center stage.
Decreasing magazine capacity to some arbitrary number, in order to limit tragedies, shows little knowledge about how firearm systems work. If you believe this, then you also must agree that high volume cases of beer should be limited to a six-pack. Who really needs 12 or 24 cans! Wouldn’t this too limit the carnage — on the road?
Universal background checks (UBC) sound like an iron clad solution. However we must realize we are dealing with criminals who will ignore whatever law is in place. Only the lawful will abide by them. The so-called “gunshow loophole” is a misused term to imply that these events are cesspools of illegal sales. All FFL license holders must follow ATF rules no matter where a sale takes place. The 40 percent sales number often quoted comes from a poorly conducted Clinton era poll. Further analysis shows those personal “face to face” sales to be less than 10 percent. Many of which are familial gifts.
We must disabuse ourselves of the practice that new laws must be written whenever there is a high profile event. Freedom allows people to make a wide range of decisions. When are we going to hold the individual solely responsible for a horrible decision rather than penalizing society?
In the final analysis, there is no law that can legislate what is in someone’s heart. Those who are criminally motivated or mentally incapacitated will always be a factor in how safe society can be. Simply said, another round of gun control laws will bring us one step closer to what the anti’s want: the knock on your door.
Few people realize that in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, the Newtown school board voted unanimously (013113) to budget $165K for eight additional security guards for their four elementary schools. Why has this been kept silent by the media? In a society that accepts armed security for our money, politicians and celebrities, why would we think less of our children?
The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written by our founders to put strict limitations on government, not the people. They did not want to repeat the lessons of their past. Do we?

Joe Polunc