Rebuttal, P. Baribault: How about a warning label?

I write in response to Cal Thomas’ recent column.

As expected by many when the Newtown tragedy occurred, the outrage over the shootings has declined enough to stop the momentum for change at expanded background checks, but any renewal of the assault weapons ban is unlikely to happen — with the refrain from the gun lobby, that any assault weapons ban would “punish law-abiding gun owners,” as predictable as the entrenchment in their self-interest.

I know this and similar letters will not make a particle of difference to those who worry about any perceived diminishing of the Second Amendment, a protection they interpret as: “We have a constitutional right to as many guns as we wish to possess, and we won’t be punished by any restrictions to this right, including assault-style weaponry.”

Christians, in particular, who can speak the words above without pause (my Christian friends, Mr. Thomas, what say you?), need to understand they don’t know their gentle master very well. “Blessed are the meek,” he said, “for they shall inherit the Earth.” Try to insert “assault weapons supporters” into this promise in place of meek.

But "punished" gun owners is a curious affiliation with the word itself. Punishment implies some kind of harm being done to someone, an irony too great to bear in light of Newtown; or punished, as in the case of a child when some type of censure is being applied. Those frightened children at Sandy Hook were censured by 157 bullets in a matter of minutes, from multi-round magazines quickly inserted in an assault-style rifle.

The punisher in that instance was not Adam Lanza — he was merely the fractured vehicle for the inevitable in a country filling with military-grade weapons. No, the punisher was the gun industry itself, especially those who have made their fortunes spreading weapons that have no place in hunting or anywhere in civil communities.

That a hunter’s pump-action shotgun is regarded by many in law-enforcement to be the single most effective protection a gun-desiring homeowner can have is an argument of clarity the gun industry and its lobby ignores. Even with birdshot at close range it would be effective; filled with buckshot its lethality would be unchallenged. But the arms industry needs to sell lots of guns, many types of guns. Just as the tobacco industry needs to sell many types of cigarettes.

Maybe this is a federal law that would have the chance of Congressional passage, a required label on assault-style weapons: “Warning, the destructive instrument in your hands may provide a rush on the shooting range, but in the hands of the wrong person, it can be harmful to innocent children in schools, and many yet to be born.”

Paul Baribault, Lewiston

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Comments

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Claire, I would like to take

Claire,

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that you were wrong about who killed the Texas district attorney. You seemed to take what the liberal press feed you hook, line, and sinker. You insulted all gun owners, and you should publicly apologize.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

The shooting range

It seems to me that instead of banning military style guns we should confine them to shooting ranges. I know this has been done successfully in other countries. We can get into endless discussions over what is and what is not an assault rifle and this is just another tactic to avoid doing anything. I see no harm in people enjoying them in gun clubs and shooting ranges. It wouldn't be any more dangerous than people shooting off canons at Civil war reenactments. They should however be banned anywhere else and should be subject to background checks and just for the heck of it maybe a few safety lessons should come with the purchase of the gun.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Okay, I’m permitted own an

Okay, I’m permitted own an assault weapon, but I can only use it on a Range.

So this law will stop someone from using in a Sandy Hook style attack?

Your logic leaves me speechless.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Logic

Yesterday a man shot himself in the head at a Nascar NRA 500 race. Guns are banned at NASCAR events so I guess the ban didn't work. Nevertheless I'm not hearing that NASCAR is revoking the ban. Perhaps their thinking is that one shooting fatality is better than twenty. War weapons have no place in malls, theaters, schools, city jogging tracks, political rallies and public events unless they are in the hands of law enforcement. They don't belong there any more than a topless pole dancer belongs in church. Years ago people respected public sensitivities enough to honor them. Today respect is gone and so we need laws instead. I agree they will not work as well but it is what we have left. It will take more than laws about assault weapons to solve the extensive gun problem in this country.There will need to be safety education and cooperation from responsible gun owners. If what I read is correct, guns are not allowed at NRA headquarters either. So I guess they do believe in regulating. If it works for them it may very well work for the rest of us.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Claire, I would like to take

Claire,

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that you were wrong about who killed the Texas district attorney. You seemed to take what the liberal press feed you hook, line, and sinker. You insulted all gun owners, and you should publicly apologize.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

There are already many local

There are already many local and state laws prohibiting carrying a firearm on to school grounds and many other places you cite. That said, some people still violate the current law. Why not simply enforce current law when infractions occur.

“Today respect is gone and so we need laws instead.” These two are tied at the hip. If respect is gone as you say, how do you expect people to respect the law – they will not.

As for the NRA, perhaps most of those individuals are responsible in the first place to respect office policy.
You did hit on the root of the problem – respect, but you solution is 180 degrees off base.

Zack Lenhert's picture

"Why not simply enforce

"Why not simply enforce current law when infractions occur"

Do you mean after somebody has already died?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

That is how justice works. We

That is how justice works. We don’t typically arrest someone before they have murdered.

The same justice applies to you too. Take for example, you don’t receive traffic ticket until you are witnessed committing a moving violation. In your world however, we could ban sale of cars to prevent you from a moving violation.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“Warning, the destructive

“Warning, the destructive instrument in your hands may provide a rush on the shooting range, but in the hands of the wrong person, it can be harmful to innocent children in schools, and many yet to be born.”

Here we go again, more emotionally filled propaganda.

The facts are clear. According to the FBI [1], an average of 400 individuals from 2006 to 2010 are murdered annually using a rifle, which is a superset of the assault-weapon. Who knows out of that number how many deaths involved assault-weapons; yet a small fraction of an already small number. There are far more children killed each year due neglect and abuse than from assault-weapons.

Let me be clear that I’m not trying to justify the Sandy Hook incident, I’m just pointing out all the focus on assault-style weapons is misplaced and will do little to nothing to curb violence against children or anyone.

So why do people keep clinging to the concept of an assault-weapons ban in the face of all the data showing that it will have little effect on violence. Don’t you wonder too?

There are two rationalizations that come to mind:
1. People are guided emotionally, and they are unaware of the facts.
2. Some people have an anti-gun agenda, and they will use any event to further their cause. Anything, even if it means exploiting children, as I see in post Sandy Hook.

People, let’s be frank with each other. We are in a battle over maintaining the freedoms granted to us in the US Constitution. It is time to get off the sidelines and pick a side. We need to halt the erosion of our freedoms. The gun debate is yet one theater of the battle.

What can you do?

First, vote only for politicians who have read and back the concepts established in the constitution.

Secondly and predicated on the observation that absolute power corrupts absolutely, vote only for politicians who want, advocate, and have a voting record supporting smaller government.

[1] http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-...

MARK GRAVEL's picture

You may surrender your

You may surrender your freedom for fear; however, in the end, you’ll only have fear!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You make perfect sense when

You make perfect sense when you say that , ...."a hunter's pump-action shotgun is regarded by many in law enforcement to be the single most effective protection a gun-desiring homeowner can have"....
You are absolutely correct. Nothing can clear out a beer joint like a shotgun.

However, in the paragraph preceding this one, you appear to completely absolve Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter,
from any wrongdoing or responsibility when you write, "The punisher in that instance was not Adam Lanza--he was merely the fractured vehicle for the inevitable in a country filling with military-grade weapons."
It's difficult to imagine how anyone can be so wrong and so right all in the same letter.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Awesome letter,Paul

I guess you and I are what Lepage refers to as, "hostile and hysterical".

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