Home

Let’s Talk Gun Limits

To the Editor:

Empowered by Supreme Court decisions supporting an individual right to keep and bear arms, the NRA, NSSF, and affiliated groups have been working hard to expand gun rights and challenge gun limits on the federal, state and local level. Just last month the NSSF's Illinois affiliate won its lawsuit challenging Chicago's ban on the sale of handguns.

The results of this activism are starting to become clear. Florida, an early adopter of Stand Your Ground laws, has become notorious for gun violence, as the Jordan Davis case and the theater texting murder show. What once were arguments and fist fights are now too often lethal, with people carrying guns potentially absolved of responsibility for the deaths caused. In Missouri a 25 percent increase in the number of murders followed a 2007 repeal of pistol permit requirements. A recent study in Pediatrics describes the large extent and cost of firearm injury and death on children and teens.

The NSSF's website highlights a two-decade decline in the number of violent crimes with firearms as evidence that the increase in guns purchased is not a problem – even suggesting that more guns lead to less crime. Data that doesn't support this message – such as the CDC's findings of an increase in overall firearm deaths over the past ten years and a recent JAMA study showing that states with more gun laws are associated with lower firearm death rates – are ignored or dismissed.

The NSSF opposes the upcoming confirmation of Dr Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General for considering gun violence a public health issue, accusing him of “injecting his anti-gun philosophy into medical care.” The NSSF website cites Dr Timothy Wheeler, a long-time gun advocate employed by the Second Amendment Foundation, the organization that wanted “Guns Save Lives Day” to be celebrated on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook School massacre. Dr Wheeler's mission is to discredit groups and studies concerned with the public health impact of gun violence. This active rejection of all data except that which supports their interests is the opposite of responsible.

When sportsman and gun rights advocate Dick Metcalf is instantly ostracized after a long and respected career as a journalist for Guns & Ammo magazine for suggesting that limits to Second Amendment rights are appropriate and should be discussed, you know that we are dealing with extremism. Scary extremism. Backed by a wealthy industry with profits to protect.

This week's Supreme Court decision dismissing lawsuits seeking to expand gun rights for teens in Texas offers a glimmer of hope that rationality may eventually prevail. In the interest of our most basic Constitutional right to life, let's follow Dick Metcalf's suggestion.  Let's talk limits.

Barbara Richardson

31 Osborne Hill Road, Sandy Hook            February 26, 2014

More stories like this: guns, Second Amendment

Comments

Ok, Let's talk limits.

When we talk limits, are you going to consider removing some of the limits? Like some of the hastily passed laws imposed on all CT residents. Or failed federal laws.

Limit one: Assault Weapon Ban. They account for a small fraction of guns used in crimes.

Limit two: Ammunition license. This has got to be one of the silliest and most redundant laws. "Hey honey, while your at Walmart can you grab a box of ammo?" Nope.

Limit three: Magazine limited to 10 rounds. This law completely ignores the existence of defense gun use. And does not consider the value in 'high capacity magazines' when target shooting (you know, keeping skill and equipment honed and safe). Guess it doesn't matter that there will be more rusty gun owners who aren't practicing simply because it is ridiculous to have to reload every 10 shots.

Limit four: Universal background check. I support this, but it is worth noting that CT has talked about and acted on this limit. There is strong support for universal background check nationally, and I predict that it will at some point be passed.

Limit five: Gun free zones. A completely failed policy. Shootings at schools increased tremendously since this law was enacted. Not only has it failed miserably, but some believe it is a major factor when a sociopath plans unthinkable destruction. It's also redundant. Minors aren't allowed to purchase or carry guns.

Limit six: The shooting ordinance in Newtown. 4 hour window to shoot. Police permission and notification upon completion.

In addition there are permits, fees, licenses, renewal, fingerprinting, storage regulations, more fees, ect... All of which are limits. Here, go to: https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/firearms.htm and have field day with the endless limits. If you get through all of that, check out the Federal laws: http://www.justice.gov/usao/ut/documents/guncard.pdf

Firearms are highly regulated. There are so many limitations that police officers can't keep track. Yet you act as though gun rights advocates are unreasonable and unwilling to accept common sense laws that make everyone safer. The problem you have is that we passed commons sense long ago. The limits you are presumably pushing for, for some reason you think they are the first and only limits, no longer offer fair trade off. They don't make people safer. And they take huge chunks out of individual freedom. Some of them even make us less safe.

Misconception

Barbara, I'm sure you're a nice lady, but your information is fatally flawed.

The "popcorn shooter" would have done the same without SYG being law.

Dunn would have done the same without SYG being law.

SYG can be claimed, but it then goes before a judge, who reviews the evidence. If enough exculpatory evidence exists, the claim of immunity will be granted. If not enough exculpatory evidence exists, the claim will be denied, and it will go to trial.

So-called "gun violence" is not a public health issue, it is a crime issue. "Gun violence" has become THE buzzword for the anti-gun-rights crowd. It is criminal violence committed with guns, pure and simple. I see no outrage over "knife violence" or "knockout violence". All are forms of criminal violence. Not health violence - CRIMINAL violence. Yet guns, specifically, make you folks [angry].

Why is that?

Dick Metcalf, being an icon of the gun owners' community, had a responsibility to be honest. He wasn't. His endorsement of so-called "assault weapons" bans is abrogation of his responsibility to advocate the protection of our rights, particularly those that have been cemented in precedent. U.S. v. Miller (1939) held that arms in common use that have military utility are those the Second Amendment was intended to protect. So-called "assault weapons" meet both prongs of this SCOTUS test, hence bans on their ownership and use are unconstitutional. Metcalf, being who he is, was duty-bound to identify and argue this fact. He didn't. He sold out. That is why he was "instantly" ostracized - he brought it on himself.

The SCOTUS didn't dismiss those lawsuits - it merely declined, WITHOUT COMMENT, to give them a certiorari hearing. That's not the same thing. The 18-21 gap has long been in contention, primarily centered around alcohol consumption. There are those who believe that if eighteen is the age of legal majority, then those who have reached that age are entitled to the protections that come with holding them responsible at the same level as adults. This is a clear aberration. Either they are legally adults, or they aren't. There isn't any in-between.

But I wouldn't celebrate too quickly if I were you. Drake v. Jerejian is in the pipe to be considered for certiorari, and if granted, will undoubtedly strike down NJ's, NY's, MA's and CT's restrictive carry laws.

And according to the evidence (i.e. every state who has enacted "shall issue" carry laws has experienced a dramatic decrease in their rates of violent crime), that would be a GOOD thing.

A GOOD thing, Barbara.

Again, you seem to be a nice lady. Please un-brainwash yourself. It isn't becoming.

Reply to BHirsch comment

Mr Hirsch,
Ignoring your patronizing and disrespectful tone, I will address a few of the many errors in your comment.
1. You provide no source for your assertion that states implementing "shall issue" carry laws have experienced a dramatic decrease in rates of violent crime. The following article contradicts that assertion, describing a 25% increase in gun murders in Missouri following their repeal of permit requirements for concealed carry
(http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/02/13/1589161/study-gun-homicides-...).
2. Your assertion that gun violence is not a public health issue is laughable. Are you suggesting that the 2/3rds of gun deaths from suicide and that those from accidents are not relevant and not as devastating to the people, families and communities involved?
3. Dick Metcalf never endorsed an assault weapons ban. He did endorse a 16 hr training requirement for concealed carry permits, but his real crime to the gun community was to suggest that Second Amendment rights should have limits.
4. While no one knows if the SYG laws influenced a particular shooting', the juries in the Zimmerman and Dunn trial were instructed in SYG law and it clearly affected the outcomes. That has an influence on people who carry guns when considering their responses to conflict situations.

You must register or login to post a comment.