The Daily Gazette
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Linda LeTendre's Waging Peace
by Linda LeTendre

Waging Peace

A Daily Gazette community blog
Linda LeTendre fights for a peaceful world.

NRA (No Rational Argument)

When the NRA said it was going to break its silence after the Sandy Hook school massacre with some meaningful proposals to reduce gun violence I thought to myself, “Oh brother, this is going to be good.”

When the NRA finally did speak out, they didn't disappoint. More guns are what's needed according to the NRA's president, Wayne LaPierre. An armed police officer (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) at each and every school in America.

Oh, and a national database of all the people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. (Just what the country needs, another list on which the government can subjectively label its citizens -- how could that possibly be abused?)

This line of reasoning has more holes in it than a donut factory.

Really? What could go wrong with that policy? Think Kent State and the lesser known Orangeburg in South Carolina.

Armed guards will not stop a shooting. Columbine had an armed police officer on duty when the massacre took place there. Virginia Tech had armed officers that could not stop a mass shooting. Fort Hood, where almost everybody had a gun (it being a military base and all) did not stop a mass shooting.

By the way, no armed citizen has ever stopped a gun massacre either.

Think even more of a police state than we have now. Every school and university in America has metal detectors and body searches like our airports. Do we need homeland security (a dubious title if there ever was one) at malls and grocery stores too? Does it strike anyone else as odd that the more the NRA ensures their interpretation of the second amendment rights of people to carry absolutely any and all of the weapons they want the more the rest of us are plunged into a police state that would be the envy of Stalin?

I've read that the estimate to put this “gun in every school” policy into place would cost in excess of $60 billion. Where is that money supposed to come from?

We as a nation are not able to adequately fund public education with the current economic and tax structure. In New York state, at least school taxes are already out of control. (I'll bet not even this could get the Republicans to tax the 1 percent like they tax the rest of us.)

Here's my plan for paying for this self-serving public policy proposal: Raise the requisite funds by taxing gun sales, gun licensing, gun safety programs and ammunition. If it has anything to do with a gun, tax it. I'll bet LaPierre and the NRA would back off of this idea so fast we wouldn't know whether to squat or wind our watches.

I love the argument that we don't regulate knives or baseball bats and they can be used to kill people. (“We aren't disarming kitchens,” one dear friend who is a gun enthusiast told me.) The next time some hunter trots out this line tell him (or her) to go out hunting with just a knife or baseball bat. Just to show them how open-minded you are, tell him (or her) to take both.

One interpretation of the Second Amendment I've heard is that it allows citizens to arm themselves against a hostile government. Considering that our constitution is in shambles with nary a shot fired by the US government, this seems to be the most spurious argument of all by gun owners. That and as citizens we are “outgunned” when it comes to the government. The only way to change things is by nonviolent action -- because we as citizens don't own tanks or missile launchers. Maybe if the NRA were as concerned with preserving our other civil rights as they are with the Second Amendment, these people would not feel like they have to purchase guns to protect themselves from the government in the first place.

Just to set the record straight, I am not in favor of the government gathering each and every gun in the land and taking them away from the citizens. I have family members and friends that hunt and enjoy target practice. I get that. Outlawing semi-automatic or automatic weapons will not change people's abilities to engage in these sports. Folks who enjoy these sports can still participate in them, just not with a weapon that will kill 50 people in 30 seconds or less.

We need to ban semi-automatic and automatic weapons. We need gun control laws that are not gutted and rendered edentulous by the NRA before they reach the house floor for a vote, let alone get passed.

There are just over four million NRA members, most of whom are reasonable, responsible people. There are even millions more of the rest of us who are also reasonable, responsible people who are not looking to take every gun away from every citizen (the myth that the NRA exploits to cloud the issue) but just want some sanity brought into the ownership of weapons.

Given that 15 out of the last 25 mass shootings worldwide have occurred in the US, and more than one million people have be slaughtered by gun violence since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and as sure as I sit here and type these words there will be another mass shooting in the US -- all of us are at risk. We are long overdue for some sanity, some rational intervention.

Two rational (and simple) approaches are (1) a renewed federal ban on the sale of semi-automatic and automatic assault weapons (hand held killing machines that serve no other purpose) that is in fact a forever ban – not one that expires at some arbitrary point in time and; (2) a law requiring all gun purchasers to undergo an instant background check each and every time they purchase a gun. The technology for this exists and is readily available. This would almost eliminate the high number of sales by unlicensed dealers at the over 5,000 gun shows held annually in this country.

There are in fact no rational arguments to the contrary.

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December 28, 2012
10:01 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

A federal ban on semi autos and clips will not work. There has been a federal ban on narcotics for more than seven decades now. Is there any less drugs in this country as a result?
A law requiring all gun purchasers to undergo an instant background check each and every time they purchase a gun is all ready in effect. I have been subjected to it many times even at gun shows in NYS.
The NRA says that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
If you do not believe this than please explain why police and SWAT teams with semi auto assault rifles and high capacity clips are dispatched to shootings like in Ct.
The 2nd amendment stands and is perfectly clear.
We are not armed because we are free - we are free because we are armed.

December 29, 2012
3:50 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Ms Letendre,
You said "By the way, no armed citizen has ever stopped a gun massacre either"
Can you please back up this statement with facts and documentation? My question is rhetorical, you can't back it up because it's a false statement.
You have no understanding of the term "semi automatic" either, you're following the line of malarky from lunkheads like Bloomberg and Feinstein.
The more baseless inaccurate articles like yours that I read, the bigger the checks are that I send to the NRA, so keep em coming.

December 31, 2012
9:35 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I suggest that Ms Letendre read a NRA magazine The American Hunter. One of the printed departments is "The Armed Citizen". Each month there are, easily verifiable, accounts of how aremd, legally permitted citizens protecting themselves and others. It seems by the tone of your blog, your mind has already been biased, uninformadly so....................

January 1, 2013
8:22 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

If I provide some arguments, will you tell me why they are irrational, or change your slogan?
1) Please read the 2003 Center for Disease Control study which examined gun control strategies. In its summary are these words: "The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes." This is not the NRA that you can dismiss as predjudiced liars.
2) More people are killed by hands and feed than with assault rifles. Please fact check and get back to us.
3) This whole argument is being played on emotions of needing to protect our children. All firearms, let alone assault rifles, don't make the top of the list of causes of childhood death. You could be looking into those and acting on the findings.
4) Alcohol kills far more people than firearms, and you allow alcoholic beverage advertising to be blasted at children constantly.
5)The M1 rifle provided the capability of an assault rifle since the government gave them out at the end of WWII. This has not changed. The perpetrators are new. Are investigative journalists looking into what causes this new type of killer? Perhaps what medications that they were on?

I respect pacifists, if they admit that it is only good people that are willing to fight that allow them to survive in their little utopian bubble.

Norman Perazzo

January 1, 2013
10:41 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Simply put, the Second Amendment isn't about hunting. If I need to explain this, then you'd probably never understand.

Another note: The synthetic phrase: Assault Weapon wasn't used by the media or anyone until after the TV show "Miami Vice" from the mid 1980's made it look like every criminal in the USA was packing a machine gun. Prior to that the word to vilify guns was the "Saturday Night Special" Remember that myth?

Another thing that I would like to point out. Do you remember the year 2000, Bill Clinton and his Cops in School program? It was working and I think Obama cut it's funding.

There are plenty of stories where a Good guy with a gun has stopped a bad guy with a gun. Selective journalism tends not to write about the good guys winning, it's not sensational enough and upsets the anti gun media's apple cart of propaganda and lies.

January 2, 2013
9:20 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Well, I can't say she didn't warn us. Linda LeTendre's column certainly was not a rational argument.

Let me start by saying that I am open to rational, educated conversations about gun control. And they do exist. Just not in this column. Littered with inaccuracies, this erroneous missive does more to advance the gun rights position than gun control.

Here is just one example: " armed citizen has ever stopped a gun massacre either". Really? Because on May 27, 2010, a man walked into an AT&T store in New York Mills (Utica) with a list of the 6 employees he was going to shoot. After shooting one of his victims, an off-duty officer shot and killed the man with his own private weapon, savings lives in the process (at least those targeted thought so). Google it. By the FBI's definition, this would have been a mass killing.

So, Ms. LeTendre somehow ignores an event that occurred ~85 miles from the Gazette offices just a few years ago. And the column doesn't get any better from there.

Those of us in favor of an intelligent gun control argument will have to look elsewhere. And while we recognize her rights granted by the 1st Amendment as much as we do the 2nd, we'd prefer she spends a little more time collecting facts than spewing nonsense that damages the cause.

January 2, 2013
11:25 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Perhaps she might read a couple of Wall Street Journal opinion articles: "Guns, Mental Ilness and Newtown", David Kopel, 12/17/12, and "Two Cautionary Tales of Gun Control", Joyce Lee malcolm, 12/26/12. Also, an article in Monster Hunter Nation, "An opinion on gun control", Larry Correia, 12/20/12.
And then there is the case of Tony Martin, 8/22/99, of Norfolk, England; interesting reading.
As an aside, this was just sent to me:
You may not like guns, and choose not to own one. That is your right. You might not believe in God. That is your choice. However, if someone breaks into your home, the first two things you are going to do are: 1) call someone with a gun, and 2) pray they get there in time.

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