‘The weapon is part of the vi­o­lence’

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT -

On Aug. 11, I at­tended the Se­nior States­men of Vir­ginia’s Can­di­date Fo­rum in Charlottes­ville fea­tur­ing the two pri­mary can­di­dates for the 5th Con­gres­sional District seat, Tom Gar­rett (R) and Jane Dittmar (D). The pod­cast of this event can be found at the Se­nior States­men web­site, se­niorstates­men.org.

Be­low are ex­cerpts from the can­di­dates’ re­sponses to a ques­tion con­cern­ing gun vi­o­lence and the sec­ond amend­ment:

Gar­rett: “When … you learn that long guns, for ex­am­ple, what some peo­ple would brand ‘as­sault weapons,’ I think you’re four times more likely to be killed with a knife. You’re twice as likely to be killed by hands or feet. Time and a half more likely to be blud­geoned than to be killed by these weapons so, ul­ti­mately the prob­lem I don’t think is guns. The prob­lem is vi­o­lence … So, un­til we can crack down on knife mur­der and blud­geon­ing mur­der and hands and feet mur­der, I don’t think vil­i­fy­ing an ob­ject, an inan­i­mate ob­ject, is nec­es­sar­ily the so­lu­tion . . .”

Dittmar: “To pro­tect the

sec­ond amend­ment, we’ve got to do some­thing and we need to do it in this next Congress. We need to have univer­sal back­ground checks. We need to make sure that peo­ple who shouldn’t own guns are not al­lowed to buy them. Now, there are a lot of guns out there. There is a gun for ev­ery per­son in Amer­ica. So, it’s not as if we are go­ing to be go­ing out and get­ting those guns, but, in the fu­ture, we do not want to sell to peo­ple who have cer­tain types of men­tal ill­ness, a pro­cliv­ity to­wards vi­o­lence, par­tic­u­larly un­der pro­tec­tive or­ders, and any­body who we’ve iden­ti­fied as a ter­ror­ist. “

On June 12, Omar Ma­teen car­ried an as­sault-style ri­fle Sig Sauer MCX into the packed Pulse, a gay night­club in Or­lando, and started shoot­ing, killing 49 peo­ple and wound­ing at least 53 oth­ers.

Mr. Gar­rett ob­vi­ously does not un­der­stand that the weapon is part of the vi­o­lence. Such a bru­tal mas­sacre would not have oc­curred if Ma­teen’s weapons had been lim­ited to a knife, hands and/or feet.

JEANNINE “JJ” TOWLER

Charlottes­ville

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