YOU SAY: let­ters to tHe eD­i­tor

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS -

Keep ‘de­fense’ in de­bate

Re: “We need a se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion of guns” (Ed­i­to­rial, Dec. 19)

I agree, in part, with the ar­ti­cle, but I wish it fo­cused more on the pri­mary is­sue of de­fense. Numer­ous in­de­pen­dent stud­ies over the decades have proved that strict gun­con­trol laws do not pre­vent the crim­i­nals or de­ranged in­di­vid­u­als from ob­tain­ing them. Th­ese laws only help to make law-abid­ing ci­ti­zens de­fense­less. Lo­ca­tions with the strictest gun-con­trol laws have al­ways had the high­est crime and mur­der rates. Think Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

There is a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween first-line de­fend­ers and first re­spon­ders. The lat­ter ar­rive only af­ter the tragedy has oc­curred. A key part of the Sec­ond Amend­ment was to al­low us to be our first line of de­fense. It’s naïve to be­lieve that the po­lice or laws will pre­vent th­ese acts. Who would you pre­fer to have a gun in our schools and col­leges? Li­censed law-abid­ing adults or the de­ranged per­son bent on re­sis­tance-free car­nage? It’s time for com­mon sense to pre­vail in our laws. Larry Mas­sung

San Mar­cos

Gun own­ers must step up

Re: Re­strict high ca­pac­ity semi­au­to­matic weapons

I re­ceived my first ri­fle for Christ­mas from my grand­fa­ther when I was 8 years old; I have owned guns and ri­fles for tar­get shoot­ing and hunt­ing; I am not anti-gun. How­ever, in the af­ter­math of New­town, I find it hard to be­lieve that good peo­ple who col­lect guns, who use guns for hunt­ing, tar­get shoot­ing, even those who keep them for per­sonal pro­tec­tion, are not sick­ened by the in­creased fre­quency of th­ese in­ci­dents of slaugh­ter with high-power, high-ca­pac­ity weapons and the stain left on the whole idea of le­git­i­mate gun own­er­ship. It is time for those who find own­ing and us­ing guns im­por­tant to ad­vo­cate for sen­si­ble, re­spon­si­ble and adult re­stric­tions on auto and semi­au­to­matic weapons that have no real le­git­i­mate civil­ian pur­pose, be­fore more of th­ese in­ci­dents sway the grow­ing tide of cit­i­zen re­vul­sion into tak­ing more dras­tic mea­sures of gun con­trol. Bob Rankin

Austin

Armed vol­un­teers ready

Re: “NRA calls for armed of­fi­cers at all schools to pre­vent vi­o­lence” (Dec. 22)

I am a re­tired se­nior cit­i­zen. I have a con­cealed hand gun li­cense (CCL). I would be pleased to do­nate a few hours a day to watch the front door of our schools to pro­tect against a vi­o­lent peo­ple en­ter­ing our schools. Not un­like vol­un­teers who pro­tect road cross­ings at school zones. I would bet that a lot of ci­ti­zens would step up to this duty, free of charge. CCL peo­ple are not as trained as full-time se­cu­rity guards, but our train­ing should be suf­fi­cient to thwart would-be killers. Ray Ar­gabright

Austin

Anti-gun lobby mis­guided

Re: Gun con­trol It is de­spi­ca­ble to me that the lib­er­als in the me­dia and in our government are us­ing the mass mur­der of in­no­cent chil­dren to grind a po­lit­i­cal ax and to push their gun-ban­ning agenda that vi­o­lates our civil and con­sti­tu­tional rights. There is not one gun con­trol law that can be passed that will stop th­ese mass mur­ders be­cause all of th­ese mas­sacre sites are gun-free zones. The only thing that can stop this type of car­nage is an armed per­son in the form of a peace of­fi­cer or a law-abid­ing cit­i­zen. Those are the facts whether you like them or not. Bart Franklin

Austin

Con­trol crim­i­nally in­sane

Sub­ject : Con­trol Cra­zies, Not Guns

The tragic shoot­ings of in­no­cent chil­dren and adults should not be used as an ex­cuse to pun­ish law abid­ing ci­ti­zens, nor im­pede their abil­ity to de­fend their own fam­i­lies and neigh­bors. Gun con­trol is an ab­surd so­lu­tion based on an in­com­pe­tent as­sess­ment of the real prob­lem — the crim­i­nally in­sane hav­ing ac­cess to an in­ad­e­quately pro­tected pub­lic.

Nearly three decades ago, the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion threw the men­tally ill out of state-run psy­chi­atric care fa­cil­i­ties, leav­ing them to fend for them­selves on the street, or un­pre­pared fam­i­lies to cope with the oner­ous bur­den of try­ing to pro­vide for un­well in­di­vid­u­als who of­ten pose clear and present dan­gers to ev­ery­one around them.

Since the con­se­quences of un­con­trolled in­san­ity af­fect ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity, it is time that the of­fi­cial agency of com­mu­nity again pro­vide care for the se­ri­ously men­tally ill, and pro­tect the gen­eral pub­lic from fu­ture such tragedies.

No ex­cuse for in­ac­tion

Larry Gil­strap

Austin

Dis­cus­sion of what hap­pens now, af­ter the Sandy Hook slaugh­ter, must in­clude the fol­low­ing: Any­one who ob­jects to dis­cus­sion of and ac­tion on all four items needs to re­think their pri­or­i­ties. First, re­stricted ac­cess to guns. Just get over it. Drop the base­less ar­gu­ment that more guns mean fewer deaths. It’s naïve at best, mur­der­ous at worst. Sec­ond, wide open ac­cess to men­tal health care. Third, end me­dia glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of per­pe­tra­tors. No one gets fa­mous this way. Fourth, most of th­ese mon­strous acts are com­mit­ted by males. We must raise all of our chil­dren to un­der­stand that vi­o­lence is wrong. But boys and men in par­tic­u­lar grow up be­liev­ing vi­o­lence is an op­tion. We must change this. Un­til we do, the list— Columbine, Vir­ginia Tech, Sandy Hook — will only get larger. Ac­tion must be taken on mul­ti­ple is­sues in con­cert. Noth­ing should stand in the way of our tak­ing steps to pre­vent the next slaugh­ter. Oth­er­wise, when — not if —this hap­pens again, their blood is on our hands. Brett West­brook

Austin

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