Gun-control discussion, Part 2 | Letter to the Editor
January 15, 2013 · Updated 1:00 PM
In the Jan. 11 Redmond Reporter, Dick Bowne wrote that when it comes to gun violence, "deranged, criminally-inclined and those in need of heavy-duty anger management" are the problem. Shari Newton adds that "guns do not kill people, people kill people." As such, gun-rights supporters should be able to agree with gun-control advocates that it would make sense to close major loopholes in our program of background checks (concerning gun shows and private sales), so that it is, in fact, less easy for criminals and unstable individuals to acquire guns.
Likewise, I wonder if Dick Bowne or Shari Newton are in favor of citizens owning tanks, missile launchers or grenades? Personally I think it would be a heck of a lot of fun to own an M1 tank, and maybe blast targets with its 120mm cannon out behind my house. But even though it would be fun (and a big help when the zombie apocalypse arrives), I'm not sure society should allow me to do that. I suppose there would be a lot of broken windows in the neighborhood, if nothing else.
In fact I imagine that Mr. Bowne and Ms. Newton probably agree that it is reasonable for some limits to be placed on the ownership of military-style weaponry. And if that is the case, then perhaps they would also agree that it's reasonable to ask whether the right to own guns should necessarily extend to weapons such as automatic assault rifles and large-capacity magazines. These are weapons designed specifically for the mass killing of large numbers of humans, and not for hunting or personal self-defense.
As a matter of fact I've seen no serious national proposals in the wake of Newtown for broad restrictions on citizens owning or carrying guns. The discussion has been centered on placing reasonable limits on specialized military-style weaponry far beyond any legitimate sporting or recreational use, and on making sure that the "bad guys" don't have as many loopholes available to them to acquire guns without the existing checks being applied. These are the kinds of sensible measures that the gun-control advocates, gun owners and the NRA should all be able to support.
Eric Johnson, Redmond