• November 12, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gun laws are not a bad thing - Odessa American: Letters To Editor

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gun laws are not a bad thing

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Posted: Sunday, September 29, 2019 6:30 am

In his letter published Sept. 15, Sandy Milner wrote that a poll of 1000 people cannot represent the views of the U.S. population and that neither he nor anyone he knows has been questioned in a poll. This is a common argument made by those who know nothing about statistics and do not like the results of a poll. Professional polling groups in the U.S. commonly use a sample of one to two thousand people.

Polls do, in fact, make it clear that roughly 90% of Americans—and most NRA members—support universal background checks. They also show that a majority of Americans support banning the sale of assault weapons and around half support a mandatory buyback of AW’s. These polls are easy to find on the Web (many are at www.pollingreport.com/guns.htm.)

An interesting fact is that Ronald Reagan, supposedly a lifetime NRA member, actually worked for the Brady Bill (“Why I’m For the Brady Bill,” New York Times, March 29, 1991, p A23.)

Another common fallacious argument is to ignore the actual proposals and claim “they’re trying to take all your guns.” Certainly some want to outlaw civilian possession of all firearms, but there are extremists on both sides. Our choices are not just the extreme positions. As society changes and both the population and the killing power of firearms increase, firearm regulations must be updated.

“Gun control” is not an evil term. Prohibiting machine guns, ownership by felons, and purchase by those too young are gun controls. Requiring background checks is a gun control. No doubt most would consider those to be good things.

We should begin the long process of reducing the availability of assault weapons and the number in circulation. We should outlaw the sale and gunsmithing of AW’s as well as the sale of high-capacity magazines. We should outlaw AW transfer and require registration for enforcement. The effects will take time, but we have to start.

It’s time to crack down on AW’s. Otherwise, there will never be an end to the massacres: Midland-Odessa (7 dead, 25 wounded), El Paso (22, 24), Dayton (9, 17), Sutherland Springs (26, 20), Parkland (17, 14), Las Vegas (58, hundreds), Stockton (5, 32), Pulse nightclub (49, 53), Sandy Hook (26, 2), and on and on. This is no way to live.

I am not a liberal, but I left the NRA years ago because I could no longer back a group that opposed any gun control, even the most sensible and innocuous. Now, amidst these never-ending mass murders, the group opposes restrictions on the weapons used to mow down schoolchildren and other civilians. It is not difficult to find numerous reports of dirty deeds by NRA leaders; just type “NRA corruption” into a search engine. These are unprincipled, self-serving men working against what nearly all Americans, and most of their own members, want.

It took an epistolary bludgeoning from an opponent to convert me. Perhaps 29 killed or wounded in one incident here will persuade others. If not, maybe the next slaughter will. It’s coming.

Odessa, TX

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