Linda Butler: Must keep discussion on gun laws going
To the editor:
I want to thank the Gazette for its recent front-page articles on guns in the Valley. The eye-opening articles “Firearms tally,” on Feb. 23, and “Split decision,” on Feb. 25 drove home one of the lessons of Newtown: that the horror of a mass shooting can happen anywhere in the country, including here.
I also want to thank the letter writers who have led the discussion about guns in the Gazette. Too often in the past, when the debate about gun rights has flared up — after Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora — the debate has faded too soon into silence and inaction. I want this time to be different. I have been particularly glad to hear from writers who own guns, but feel that the NRA does not speak for them. I’d like to hear more from gun owners who have thought long and hard about the responsibilities of gun ownership.
I also like hearing from writers with a sound understanding of the historical context for the Second Amendment. So far, certain points seem to have broad-based support. Can we all agree that we need consistent gun laws throughout the country? And that existing regulations need to be better enforced? Can we all agree that gun sellers should all abide by the same rules, and that background checks should be required of all would-be gun buyers?
Other ideas have drawn fire for reasons that mystify me: What would be so terrible about registering and insuring guns much the same way we do cars? Why shouldn’t military-style weapons designed to kill masses of enemy combatants be off-limits to civilians? Doesn’t it make sense to ban high-capacity magazines? So let’s keep the discussion going, to find common ground where we can, and where we cannot, to at least get a better understanding of one another’s views.