To the editor:
It's time to start a real dialog regarding firearms.
Is there anyone reading this that did not cry outwardly or inwardly reading and hearing about the incredibly horrific events at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.? I find it hard to even imagine such an evil act perpetrated by this young man, Adam Lanza, in having first graders line up and then shooting each one individually multiple times. It has been determined he used an assault rifle, supposedly an AR-15. He then used one of the two pistols he was carrying to kill himself, his ultimate cowardly act.
He fired approximately 100 rounds. He reloaded his rifle a number of times.
Would this murderous slaughter have taken place with or without the availability to Lanza the assault rifle and Glock and Sig Sauer pistols is an argument we can have with no quick answer. But it is important that we begin a rational discussion about this.
I am very pro-gun if that is an appropriate description. In my younger years I was an avid hunter and target shooter. I shot trap and skeet and even engaged, with some regrets, in the long ago Hegins pigeon shoot. I was a firearms instructor with the Fish and Boat Commission for 15 or so years. I presently own various handguns, shotguns and rifles. I am definitely not an anti-gun nut. But I think we have finally arrived at a point where we must place some limits on the ownership and availability of certain types of firearms.
I was at one time a member of the National Rifle Association. But somewhere in the late 60s or 70s its complexion and direction was radically changed and it became an organization less interested in hunting and responsible gun ownership and use but in promoting the complete and unchallenged ownership in virtually any type of firearm and financially supporting financially a conservative agenda that embraced philosophies completely outside the use and ownership of firearms.
I don't know who specifically hijacked the organization, but many attribute this change to the very large U.S. firearms industry. There is supposedly some 279 million firearms owned by American citizens. This is a very large investment to protect. The NRA argues that it exists to protect the hunters' and citizens' right to have arms as guaranteed by our Constitutional Second Amendment. It is very apparent that this is no longer a priority. I completely believe this, but that said it is irrelevant to this discussion.
Without entering into an argument between the extreme right and left can we not discuss rationally the sale of assault rifles and high capacity magazines? The assault rifles such as the .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle used in the murder of the children and large capacity magazines are devices that have no use at all in the arena of hunting. These are weapons of war designed for killing people. Can we not restrict these weapons? If not, why? I would greatly wish to see clarifying responses to this letter explaining opposition to my position. We must come together and talk. It is imperative that there be rational answers to the questions regarding sale, ownership and possession of specific firearms.
I plead with those reading this letter having positions or thoughts differing from mine write in and express their thoughts.
I think there is little doubt the perpetrator of this slaughter should have been institutionalized. He was known to have psychological issues by those around him, but it was felt he was not a threat. Obviously he was. Why was he not removed from society early on? It is very important this issue must also be discussed.