Letter: Vote 'Em Out — Not Shoot 'Em Out
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Let’s get real: It’s time American society recognizes that lack of meaningful regulation with respect to the AVAILABILITY of certain types of guns and ammunition is a major contributing factor to shooting deaths.
Even the majority of National Rifle Association members favor sensible measures to keep assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, body armor-piercing, jacketed and hollow point ammunition out of the wrong hands. They know that NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s remedy of more guns is patently absurd!
He is little more than a well-compensated lobbyist for the gun and ammunition industry, who disguises his venality with rants about “Second Amendment remedies” and the necessity of having “good guys with guns” to protect our civil liberties from “bad guys with guns.” Mr. LaPierre, along with Congressional representatives such as Randy Hultgren of the Illinois 14th Congressional District — who received campaign donations and a 92 percent approval rating from the NRA’s leadership —are more concerned with the bottom line for Heckler and Koch or Smith and Wesson.
These enablers are particularly reprehensible, because they whip up anti-government hysteria and paranoia that continues to prevent the rest of us from pursuit of genuine solutions to prevent the slaughter!
When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attacked Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, there was a “good guy” already on duty. However, Deputy Sheriff Neil Gardner could not stop the murder of 13 students and faculty, and the injury of 21 others. He was caught totally unaware that the school was about to be the scene of mass carnage, inflicted by a 52-round magazine, TEC semi-automatic handgun!
When Jared Loughner unleashed mayhem at a shopping mall in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011, bystanders had to wait for the 33-round magazine of his Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol to empty before they could tackle him to the ground. Six people were killed, including a little girl and U.S. District Court Judge John Roll. Fourteen were seriously injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The weapon had been legally purchased. There was another “good guy” at this scene, but he could not use his weapon to stop Loughner for lack of a clear shot. The bystander in question realized that an innocent person was likely to get injured or killed in the cross fire.
Last weekend, two firefighters were murdered in Webster, N.Y., by a deranged man who had set them up for an ambush. How could they have suspected such a sinister plan, so as to even think about going armed to the call?!
Sandy Hook Elementary faculty expected to teach children and not be security guards. One might note that Adam Lanza’s mother legally purchased the three semi-automatic weapons her son used to murder 20 children and six faculty members.
While the solution is multi-faceted, it must clearly involve restrictions on access to assault weapons. High-firepower weapons do not belong in the hands of untrained civilians. Even law enforcement personnel are required to be certified in judgment pistol, accuracy and safety courses before they are permitted to carry weapons.
Yet, most civilians are not required to undergo such training; can evade background checks for criminal history, domestic violence, drug abuse and mental health issues; then, even carry assault weapons concealed on their persons!
Remember Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech in April of 2007? Two semi-automatic handguns, with 15-round magazines and hollow point bullets were used to massacre 37 people in that incident.
As a retired supervisory special agent for U.S. Homeland Security, I can assure you that most people in legal possession of any guns for purposes of self-defense are four times more likely to experience an accidental shooting, seven times more likely to experience a criminal assault or homicide, and eleven times more likely to experience either an attempted or completed suicide. There are over 30,000 firearms deaths each year in the United States, and over 200,000 non-fatal gunshot injuries. In addition, these shootings cost us billions per year in medical expenses and lost productivity.
The primary justification for this obscene proliferation of semi and fully automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, is the notion that our government is our enemy! The citizenry of this nation is governed by consent, not coercion.
In essence, WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. We no longer have to fear the tyranny of the British Crown of yesteryear. When we don’t like what our government is doing, the remedy is to VOTE 'EM OUT, NOT SHOOT 'EM OUT.
Will County Board Member - District 5
Chairman of the Judicial Committee