To the Editor:
Last Saturday I attended a symposium at the Quinnipiac University School of Law called "Gun Laws, Public Health and the Prevalence of Gun Violence: A critical look at an important balance." It brought together leading experts, practitioners and students to advance the larger conversation about gun accidents and injuries, public health and guns, mental health and guns, and the Second Amendment. The exchange of ideas was riveting, meaningful, and respectful. It dealt with a polarizing but critically important topic in a way that brought people together, and I applaud that accomplishment.
That kind of dialogue is needed in our town. Since the December 2012 tragedy, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has kept a low profile, not engaging with or contributing to the community in any way. I and a small group of local citizens continue to call attention to NSSF and its activities with letters and by standing outside their 11 Mile Hill Rd office building with signs on occasional Fridays. Usually there is no interaction with them, but on February 21, a high-level staffer engaged one of us in debate, and challenged us to come back to continue it the following Friday. We did return, despite the frigid temperatures, and were disappointed that not only did the person who previously challenged us not show up, but only one of the people exiting accepted our printed material with our views and invitation to dialogue. Had they had been instructed not to engage with us?
Could it be that the leaders of NSSF lack confidence in the integrity and correctness of their positions? I hope that the NSSF takes a cue from Kenneth Slater, Jr, local counsel to NRA in Shew v Malloy, (though expressing his own opinions not that of the NRA) who participated in the Quinnipiac symposium. An open, respectful sharing of views with the people of Newtown, perhaps in a forum such as that used last Saturday, could benefit us all.
31 Osborne Hill Road, Sandy Hook March 4, 2014