January 25, 2013

Letters to the editor: Readers weigh Obama's gun controls

I was heartened to see President Obama's thoughtful and comprehensive crime prevention proposal issued Jan. 16. And equally disheartened by the tepid reaction of three members of our Maine congressional delegation.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden
click image to enlarge

President Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, announces proposals to reduce gun violence on Jan. 16.

2013 File Photo/The Associated Press

In particular, I was struck by Sen. Angus King's statement that we should allow for "common-sense" exceptions to a background check system, such as occasional sales through Uncle Henry's. We are talking about the sale of a lethal weapon, not a few extra guinea pigs.

After Newtown (after Aurora, after the Arizona massacre, after the dozens of gun deaths that occur every day in our nation), there is nothing common-sense about allowing a person to purchase a firearm without passing a background check. No exceptions.

Like all of us, I sat and wept when I heard about what happened in Newtown. There is no simple fix to our country's problems with gun violence, but the slight inconvenience of a universal background check for all sales, occasional or frequent, is an important part of the answer.

Robert H. Levin

Portland

I have yet to find anyone who likes stoplights or seat belts, but most of us abide, and the roads are safer for it. For a legislator to maintain that any gun regulation cannot be considered because it is an infringement on our Second Amendment rights is indefensible.

Though I sympathize with their difficult position -- basically, their justification for doing nothing without appearing in the thrall of special interests -- the results are invariably disappointing. Twenty dead children versus the National Rifle Association and firearms manufacturers. Tough choice.

John Hughes

York

True story: Mike Shaw, a very good, longtime Democratic state representative for Standish, stated to me the other day:

"The Maine State Police have a list of over 5,500 people who have been adjudicated as mentally ill and have not given the information to ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). So these people can buy guns, even if they fill out a background check with the ATF."

This isn't about Republicans or Democrats, this is about common sense. It is very clear we don't need new gun laws or any new laws, as our government can't afford to enforce the ones we have now.

If you are not active with your government, then your government will take away your freedoms, including the right to defend your family and yourself.

Get active: Email your state representatives, your state senator, your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators (you have two).

Remember, when seconds count, the Maine State Police are only minutes or hours away to help you.

Dave Call

Standish

This whole gun control issue makes me sick, and I can't believe it's gone as far as it has. To even consider changing the -- our -- Constitution is ludicrous.

That the president has proposed legislation banning assault-type weapons and ammunition is absolutely pointless. It's not going to stop anyone who really wants to use a gun to cause terror and create disaster.

People are freaking out over the horrible murders of those precious young children in Connecticut. I get that people feel powerless and afraid, but this "trying to ban guns thing" is a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that nobody can solve because nobody can control what goes on inside the mind of another individual.

Bad people will always find guns and ammunition if that's what they're looking for. Banning them from the general public only makes the general public more vulnerable to the bad guys. A good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun before he/she kills multiple innocent, good people.

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