April 25, 2013

Letters to the editor: Defeat of gun bills shows NRA's power

Not even a Democratic-controlled Senate could pass a bipartisan background check bill.

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Gun-control advocates and gun-rights backers face off Saturday at a gun-control rally outside the Indianapolis office of U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., who voted against gun-control measures last week. Readers deplore the Senate’s rejection of proposals that polls show had broad-based support.

2013 File Photo/The Associated Press

Amendments to reinstate the assault-weapons ban and limit high-capacity magazines also failed.

Even a bipartisan proposal to curb gun trafficking -- supported by the National Rifle Association, for goodness' sake! -- failed to pass.

Background checks make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain weapons and deter people who in the heat of the moment want to buy a gun to hurt someone (e.g., kill their estranged wife or girlfriend).

Limits on the weapon power and ammunition capacity reduce the number of adults and children who get killed and maimed when the wrong people do get a hold of guns.

These measures would also make the jobs of our cities' police officers and other public safety workers safer.

They would not lead the government to confiscate people's guns and violate their rights.

People would still be able to obtain guns to hunt and to keep in their homes in order to protect their families.

In countries where it is harder to get weapons, gun violence is way lower. It really is a no-brainer.

It's crazy, really, how much the paranoid thinking of the NRA and their supporters dictates U.S. gun policy.

Our right to safety is being hijacked by their lies, simplistic conceptualization of liberty and intentionally narrow interpretation of the Constitution.

Sensible policymaking is being blocked by their paranoid fantasies and fears, not to mention their fanciful and egotistical confidence in their ability to be civilian superheroes.

That the NRA and gun manufacturers put profits before the safety of children is depressing but unfortunately not surprising.

But when the majority of the public supports these proposals, the dangerously undemocratic role that money has come to play in our government is also exposed.

Lisa Morris
Portland

The public discussion of the U.S. Senate gun safety votes on April 17 has been focused on gun buyers' background checks.

But even more revealing of the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party is the vote on making a felony of gun purchases for criminals and others who cannot pass background checks (i.e., straw purchases).

Every Senate Democrat voted to make straw purchases a federal crime, and all Republicans but three voted for the filibuster that defeated this amendment.

The three responsible Republican senators who supported the amendment -- the only ones who value people's lives more than the money and votes of an extremist fringe -- were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and our own Susan Collins.

No moral justification exists for what the Republican Party did.

Making more guns available to felons can only lead to an arms race as more law-abiding people feel a need to arm themselves.

Of course, this vote enables increased gun sales and gun industry profits, but it also will result in more American deaths.

Do the Republican filibusterers really have such depraved indifference to whether their fellow Americans live or die? I hope we can dismiss the theory that these Republicans were appealing to the drug-dealer vote and the wife-beater vote.

This country needs a compassionate conservative party that lives in the real world. The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Margaret Chase Smith was such a party; the present Republican Party is not.

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