Letters: 4/19/18

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Second Amendment does not guarantee blanket gun ownership

Here’s what Americans need to know about gun-control and mass shootings: First, despite Paul Danish’s claims [Re: The Danish Plan, April 12]that any gun-control is only a form of prohibition that inevitably fails, an assault weapons ban, as implemented in democratic Australia, works. It has ended mass shootings there.

Australia had massacres, but in 1996, 35 died at the hands of a man with a semi-automatic assault weapon — the Port Arthur killings. The country said, “Enough!” and it implemented a comprehensive national ban on assault-weapons and pump-action shotguns — it’s illegal to own, sell, repair or manufacture parts for or buy such weapons.

Now, and this is important, Australians still have gun-ownership rights: one might sleep with a loaded shotgun under the bed, one might even own a handgun — all legally. A citizen just doesn’t have the right to own an assault weapon. In conjunction with the ban, thousands of Australians joined a voluntary government buyback program, and surrendered tons, literally, of personal weapons. They’d decided their extraneous guns were ruining their country. Also, Aussies now need a license to own a gun.

The result: Global News journalist Katie Dangerfield reports that gun deaths in Australia have dropped dramatically: from 98 in 1996 to 35 in 2014. Most importantly, Australia has not had a single mass killing since implementation of their comprehensive assault-weapons ban. Their highest murder-victim count has been two — below the “mass killing” threshold of five. Here is prohibition that works!

Danish and others seem to believe that the Second Amendment is absolute, guaranteeing blanket gun ownership without any government regulation whatsoever; in fact, the word “regulated” appears in that amendment, and it says nothing about assault-weapons. Nor have assault weapons bans here in the U.S. ever been ruled unconstitutional.

We can end the mass shootings, which make a mockery of “American freedom,” but we’ll need the sense and political will to do it. Start by telling others about Australia.

Paul Dougan/Boulder

On Boulder’s gun control

After the Boulder City Council makes a decision on how much of the City’s taxpayers’ money they are willing to waste on a losing lawsuit over state preemption laws; they must answer three important questions:

1) If you take the firearms from those who are disinclined to use them to kill other human beings; how many lives have you saved?

2) If you take the firearms from those who are disinclined to use them to commit crimes; how many crimes have you prevented?

3) If you take the firearms from those whose only intent is the defense of themselves, their homes and their families; how many victims have you created?

When those victims are gunned down in their homes, by a criminal with a stolen firearm with the serial number ground off, the Council will read of their demise, wring their hands, and lament, “This is why we need more gun control.”

Jim Peel/Longmont

Stand up to the bully

The unsettling disarray of this White House administration, coupled with the proven lies spoken by the President and his representatives, makes me sincerely fear for this country. A special counsel was finally appointed to determine the extent of Trumps collaboration with the Russians. America is heading toward a constitutional crisis, enabled by the acquiescence of people like Sen. Cory Gardner.

I have family history that is pertinent to this issue. My cousin, William Mandel, was a leading Sovietologist during the 1940s and 1950s.

As an academic at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and an expert on the Soviet Union, he often traveled there to do research. Joseph McCarthy interrogated my cousin before the House Un-American Activities Committee, accusing him of being a communist spy. McCarthy’s aggressive witchhunt violated the civil rights of thousands of United States citizens.

Most were afraid to stand up to that bully. Over 2,000 government employees lost their jobs as a result. Robbed of his career at Stanford, blacklisted as a journalist and writer, punished without evidence, William behaved as any true patriot would. He stood up to the bully, refusing to submit.

The irony today, the hypocrisy, is the substantial evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia and his blatant lying to avoid justice. Trump is directly interfering with the FBI Russian investigation. This is truly un-American. Still, the majority of Republicans demonstrate their spineless cowardice by continuing to support this traitor through their silence.

I ask Sen. Gardner to make a public statement demanding full disclosure of Trump’s dealings with Russia, including his tax returns. Uphold your oath, Cory, stand up to the bully. 

Wendy Rochman/Boulder

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