2013-01-17 / Letters to the Editor

Don’t let emotions lead to hasty laws

We can all agree that the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Conn., is a truly heartbreaking event. Inevitably after something as horrendous as this occurs, the question of gun control comes to the forefront. As the public debate develops, it is important that rational thinking prevail.

The kneejerk impulse of our president and congressional representatives to impose a ban on the sale of assault weapons and highcapacity magazines is understandable. But I would caution those zealots not to let emotions run over logic and rational thinking about these matters. Laws and regulations formed in the heat of emotional haste often turn out badly. They frequently do not achieve their goals, run afoul of both common sense and the Constitution, but are emotionally and politically satisfying.

The term “assault rifle” is a political term conjured up to prejudice and poison any dialog. Go to any gun shop and ask to buy an assault rifle and they will show you the door. Fully automatic weapons have been banded and restricted since 1934, need AFT permission and the payment of high fees. The semiautomatic civilian version of the military-styled M4 doesn’t shoot any faster and still requires one pull of the trigger for each round, just as my old Ithaca .22 squirrel rifle and WWII M1A carbine.

During the 1950s, one could purchase the old MIAs at the local hardware store, as well as 20- to 30-round magazines. As a 13-yearold I could walk into any hardware store and purchase .22-caliber ammo with no ID or questions asked. I was given my first BB gun when I was 8 years old and my first .22 semiautomatic when I was 12. Boys back then practiced gun safety and didn’t go shoot up their schools and classmates.

So what’s changed? Maybe the growing trend towards violently entertaining youth, increased single parenting with lack of adequate male role models, and increased secularization have something to do with it.

Be careful and realize how easy it is to erode your freedoms and liberty when driven by emotion and hoplophobia. Remember, more children die from drowning in bathtubs and swimming pools each year than from firearms. According to the latest FBI crime statistics, more people die from club and hammer blows than from bullets from assault rifles. More also die from hands and closed fists, too. The vast majority of gun deaths occur in highly gun-controlled environments, such as in Chicago, and not from assault rifles, but from cheap, illegally obtained semiautomatic handguns and revolvers.

Please let clearer minds prevail. Be safe out there. Guard your precious freedom and liberties. Rational thought must win out and guarantee our Constitutional and God-given right to self-defense. In the heat of present emotions, feelgood politically correct rhetoric just demoralizes lawful gun owners. It doesn’t disarm the criminal elements – it stifles needed debate.

John Flinton
North Main Road

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