Framework for reasonable debate
In any effort to achieve effective improvements in gun safety, the forum has to move from the fiery rhetoric and grandstanding of politicians and the politically motivated. The discussion has to include diverse groups across the issue. In my opinion, the most critical talking points are:
Gun safety: We need to discuss the need for – and the proper way of – storing and securing firearms. Carefully worded legislation requiring gun owners to secure and store all firearms safely would codify the standards required to prevent unauthorized access. Gun owners must be held responsible for the security of their firearms.
Background checks: All gun sales should be subject to checks. The database should contain non-eligible buyers not only based on criminal activities, but also mental competence and any other issues that would otherwise disqualify a potential buyer. The background check would need to be instant and as simple as a single phone call. The check should not include any consideration of the particular firearm being sold.
Proper training and familiarization: Prospective gun buyers should be encouraged or even required to receive training in basic gun safety and marksmanship. Applicants for a concealed-carry permit should be required to exhibit the basic competence and skill required.
These basic issues will need to be addressed to prevent guns from falling into the hands of people who should not own or possess firearms.
CRAIG BARTSCHT Fort Wayne
Gun control won’t protect children
It seems silly that lawmakers want to jump on the bandwagon to pass gun control laws. It is much too late now to control guns.
Lawmakers want stiffer penalties for gun crimes. Do you really think a person whose intent is to murder bothers looking up the possible penalty for the gun crime he is going to commit? Bad guys are always going to have guns, and no legislature is going to put a dent in it. If anything, it is going to make the problem worse.
What’s important is keeping our children safe. Schools need to be the safest places in our country. If our government could spend $1 trillion on a war protecting us from an enemy that posed no threat to us, then it has the money to protect our children from an enemy that does pose a threat.
I don’t know if the politicians are doing what they are doing to look good or they are really that ignorant to think that passing legislation is going to make a difference. Let’s start protecting our children from the real clear and present danger.
NICK GIANT Fort Wayne
True cost of gun violence hidden
We have witnessed the illegal execution of 20 children and six teachers in Connecticut. Today our flags no longer fly at half-staff and the memory-candles have burned out. Our feelings of shock, sadness and anger have begun to fade a little bit.
The photographs taken outside the Newtown school have been widely viewed. One of those images, I think, is particularly poignant. The photograph shows a line of young children with their hands on the shoulders of the child in front in them. The children apparently had been told to close their eyes as they were being evacuated. This was intended to prevent them from seeing the messy business of gun violence at their school.
This single photograph is symbolic of America’s closed-eyes reaction to gun violence. The citizens of this nation are censored from seeing the true human costs of gun violence.
It is unlikely you or I will have an opportunity to view the crime-scene photographs taken at the Newtown school. We will not be permitted to read the detailed incident reports or read the autopsy reports for each of the 26 humans to die at Sandy Hook Elementary. It is, however, possible to request that members of our congressional delegation look at the crime scene images, read the graphic reports and interview the first responders. Maybe our elected representatives will get a true picture of gun violence in our country, and some attitudes about violence and guns may be changed.
JAMES SEELY Fort Wayne
Obama cynically exploits children
I was deeply impressed by President Obama’s touching, and more importantly, telling, use of little children as props for his gun recommendation press conference. It is nice to know that he deeply cares about the welfare and future of the children of America. I wonder if he took the time to explain to those four children why he is burdening them with unpayable debt?
BRUCE CYNAR Leo-Cedarville