Letters to the Editor

Are 18-year-olds part of 'militia?'

Let me begin this letter by quoting the Second Amendment to our Constitution: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Think about this for a minute: "A well regulated militia" -- certainly an 18-year-old kid is not part of a well-regulated militia unless he is a member of the National Guard. Yet, he can walk into a gun shop and buy a military-grade assault rifle to use to kill people. He is certainly not doing anything to ensure the security of a free state.

And yet again, Congress [primarily Senate Republicans] are not supportive of doing something about this other than mouth "thoughts and prayers." Disgusting.

There are other necessary fixes to the current state of affairs in our country regarding mass shootings, but I just wanted to focus on this issue at this time.

Pete Rathmell


How to effectively deal with violence

What will it take to make an effective change in our country, to address the growing incidents in mass shootings? Why is the U.S. the leader by far in this dubious category of violence worldwide? Is the problem strictly a mental health issue as some say, or is it just the easy access to firearms that others contend? Will the Congress (state or U.S.) pass any type of reform and should they?

I think only a broadly comprehensive solution that includes the following will achieve the results we desire: (1) Raise the age to purchase a firearm or ammunition; (2) impose a waiting period for any firearm and ammunition purchase; (3) address ghost guns/parts manufacturing and sale; (4) eliminate gun-show loopholes that allow the sale of firearms (and ammunition) without background checks; (5) create red flag regulations; (6) yes, invest in mental health resources, and not just for the purpose of addressing violence but all mental health issues as well as programs that support children and their families; and (7) add funding to secure schools and colleges, but not turn them into something resembling a prison.

My fear is that Democrats and the very few Republicans working with them in Congress will propose legislation so watered down it will fail to make a significant difference. If the legislation should somehow pass the full House and Senate and is signed by President Biden, its inevitable failure will be used as ammunition (sorry for the pun) by the NRA and the politicians they've bought off to strike it down (think assault weapons ban).

Historically, this isn't a single-issue voter issue like abortion is and the NRA knows and uses this to its advantage and its politicians have no incentive to pass anything that will in any way weaken their position. My cynical/pragmatic opinion is there won't be anything done.

It's not about taking away people's guns (unless they are mentally unstable or have a history of abuse or violence). It would be impossible to do that anyway and I'm definitely not advocating that. It's not about left vs. right, pro-gun vs. anti-gun; it's about the growing violence in society and how we effectively deal with it.

Steve McAuley

Bella Vista

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