Target gun violence, but don't trample Constitutional rights


To the Editor:
Since the tragic shooting at a Florida high school, a half dozen people have asked me why shouldn’t “assault rifles” and “those clip things that hold a lot of bullets” be banned. After I answer their questions they usually say, “Well, we have to do something.”
The bill to ban detachable magazines that hold more than 10 rounds is the same flawed bill that has been around for years. Ten bullets is not a magic number that will end mass shootings. Colorado says high capacity it more than 15; in New York it is seven. Connecticut allows high capacity magazines as long as no more than 10 bullets are loaded in them. I’m sure that a mass murderer will follow that law.
The fact is anyone can change magazines in less than two seconds with a little practice. To add four seconds to fire 30 rounds in a mass shooting scenario is meaningless. The shooter’s rampage in Florida lasted six minutes, during which time he covered three floors. He had more than enough time to switch magazines.
H7645 and S2319 as written gives those who own a “hi-cap mag” 120 days to send them out of state or turn them in to police for destruction. This amounts to government seizure of private property without compensation because no dealer is going to buy back an item that has been declared as contraband. And what are dealers supposed to do with the magazines they have in inventory or in guns on the shelf?
An assault rifle ban was tried from 1994 to 2004. Researchers from two universities funded by the government found it had no discernible effect on gun violence. That is why it expired.
States were allowed to enact their own ban after 2004. Connecticut is one of them. It did not stop Adam Lanza from killing his mother, stealing her legal AR-15 and wreaking havoc at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Flash suppressors, adjustable stocks, barel shrouds, and pistol grips do not make a firearm more lethal than one without them. Merely resembling a rifle used by he military does not make it a “weapon of war” even though it may be black and scary-looking.
The assault weapons ban this year (S2493) takes the Cicilline-Feinstein approach and names nearly a hundred prohibited semi-automatic firearms by manufacturer and model, most of them not used by the military. Last year, the AG in Massachusetts decided she could prohibit guns not on the list. When gun dealers asked how to implement her ruling they were told that hadn’t been worked out yet.
The anti-gunners want to prohibit concealed carry permit holders from carrying on school grounds. They cannot cite a single case where a citizen with a concealed carry permit has opened fire in a school.
Even calls for trained, armed security guards in schools have drawn cries of angst from the left. Guns in schools? Perish the thought. We are told only police officers should be allowed to carry guns in schools.
The sheriff of Broward County, Florida has admitted that his deputy assigned to the high school in Parkland responded within two minutes and “took a position” outside the building while the shooting was happening. Apparently several more deputies joined him.
Included among the definition of “law enforcement officers” in the bill (S2289) that has been introduced are postal inspectors, game wardens, fire marshals and airport police. Does anyone seriously think these individuals practice school shooting scenarios?
The sad fact is that most police departments, save perhaps those with SWAT teams, have barely enough money to buy ammunition for their officers’ annual range qualification much less school shooting drills.
We have armed guards on airplanes and in our state Capitol, airports, train stations and some banks. Do our children deserve any less protection?
Which sign is more apt to deter a mass shooter: one that reads “This is a gun free zone” or one that says, “Members of the faculty and staff may be armed”?
No responsible gun owner opposes any law that will prevent “gun violence” that does not trample on rights guaranteed by the Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution and Article I Section 22 of our state Constitution.

Richard J. August
North Kingstown


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What is an assault rifle?

Is it a souped up Saturday Night special from the 1970's?

Thursday, March 8

I think that both sides of the gun argument have valid points. I just think that we are long past the time where we should still be arguing over the same issue. This isn't working. None of it is working. So now what? That is what I am interested in. It is time to start with critical and creative thinking that will help us protect our children. It won't stop until we figure out how to make it stop and make both sides happy with the outcome.

I no more want to take away another citizens constitutional rights then I want someone to take away mine. But...beyond all that is keeping the children attending school safe. Nothing else really matters. My rights or your rights shouldn't superseded the right for a child to attend school and remain safe. Isn't that something we all can agree on? We aren't accomplishing anything by fighting.

Friday, March 9

The only thing to do is add police to every school. If not police, retired police, veterans who pass a training, armed guards that pass training, etc. Anyone intent on killing people will not listen to a stupid gun control law. Ask any of the thousand of victims already out there, particularly in Chicago. If you are really concerned about school safety, hire armed guards.

4 days ago