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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/22/2018

Crack down on criminal gun users, not law-abiding ones

Crack down on criminal gun users, not law-abiding ones

*Crack down on criminal gun users, not law-abiding ones *Do more to discourage public assistance tak

Crack down on criminal gun users, not law-abiding ones

A firearm is an inanimate object with no thought process or ability to discharge on its own. It’s the person holding the firearm who brings this part to the equation.

[So] why do our elected representatives forge ahead with knee-jerk proposals addressing certain types of firearms and certain types of magazines? Because the citizenry demands they do something, and the quickest way to accomplish something, or anything, is to ban those nasty-looking rifles that conjure up images of war, and those equally nasty-looking magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

I’m not an advocate of these types of firearms. As a former peace officer and firearms and tactics coordinator, I see no real need for these except in the hands of our military or police. On the other hand, I support the right to possess them as set forth in the Second Amendment. Though it truly grieves me to say this, there is no way to craft a law that will prevent another Columbine, Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook. But there are laws that could be crafted to hopefully reduce the chances of such horrific happenings; they would be aimed at people, rather than firearms.

In New York, as well as elsewhere, every perpetrator involved in a violent crime shares responsibility. If one takes a life, all involved can be charged with murder, or a lesser offense of manslaughter.

Legislators should take this philosophy a step further. Anyone using a firearm in the commission of a crime should receive a mandatory 10 years in jail, with no exceptions and no plea bargaining. Anyone possessing a firearm without required authorization or permit should receive a mandatory minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in jail.

Banning [certain] types of firearms or magazines won’t make one iota of difference because bad people with guns just don’t give a damn.

Paul Hartmann

Little Falls

Do more to discourage public assistance takers

Re Jan. 15 article, “YMCA housing to relocate”: As long as the contractor does a better job affixing a new facade to this building than was done to the Social Services building, this is an excellent move. The article describes potential win-win-win outcomes. I certainly hope so.

I’d like to put forth a concept I arrived at after many years as a “non-directive” vocational rehabilitation counselor with our state’s vocational rehabilitation agency. Put simply, if a mission is to divert, or prevent, folks from obtaining public assistance, you’ve got to get “directive.”

In my schema, applicants for individual public assistance benefits must complete a six-week “boot camp.” I wanted service partners to buy, not rent, a local vacant motel and run it as a boot camp: Up at 7 [a.m.], bathed and fed by 8:30, off to some form of hard or soft skill training till 4 p.m., fed, then individualized academics till 9 p.m. As folks progress, they’re sent out on focused job searches.

My peers all laughed, told me I was correct, and promised to maybe visit me in jail where I’d be for violating Lord knows how many civil rights.

With the Y moving its residence, the county has the opportunity to devise its own form of boot camp to enhance its diversion services and decrease its rolls.

James O’Connor


Feds will have to pay for longer school days

Gov. Cuomo’s call for a longer school day [Jan. 12 Gazette] is, as others have noted, good presidential rhetoric, but as Sen. Hugh Farley wonders, “Where is the money coming from?”

Presently, many school districts are downsizing staff and forgoing needed improvements in order to stay afloat. Fonda-Fultonville, for instance, has discontinued its spring sports schedule while bleeding its rainy day fund balance.

The governor swears the state will cover any rise in costs for the expanded schedule — while it is cutting aid to schools. Perhaps there lurks a solution to this anomaly — the federal government.

According to the state Education Department, Washington supports about 2 percent of local education costs. This can be expanded with short-term grants — which do not cover future retiree pensions and benefits — but some districts do not want to abide the meddling commands of a distant bureaucracy.

The governor says other countries have longer school days. How? Probably through their own federal contributions. Washington decries our supposedly poor educational system and demands improvement. Perhaps Congress should just declare war on ignorance as they see it and lavish funds on schools, rather than on foreign wars and the Defense Department.

Maybe in his next presidential campaign address, Gov. Cuomo can sort out these priorities. And who knows? His ideas might resonate with the rest of the nation. We wish him well. But we wish the state and country better.

David Childs


Bad law passed in an even worse way

I can’t think of any reason for passing a gun control bill without publishing it so the public could read and understand it — except for political reasons.

Gun control does not work, as is evident in Chicago, which has the most stringent gun control laws of any city and the highest murder rate by firearm.

England has a practically no guns, unless you are royalty, and has the highest violent crime rate in the European Union.

So let’s look at the new law from what the anti-gun press — this newspaper being on top of my list — thinks about it. The media thinks it is a great idea to ban “assault weapons.” The number of bullets in a clip is now down to seven, which means all the gang-bangers with 14-shot 9mm’s are going to have to buy new clips.

I sure hope that when the First Amendment gets attacked by all of the do-gooders, the newspaper has a crack legal team to represent its constitutional right to the free press.

Don’t worry, the NRA will have your back.

John Keefe


Let voters decide gun issue so lobbyists can’t

As a result of the Newtown, Conn., school tragedy, our country is involved in gun control — particularly relating to automatic rapid-fire weapons, such as those used in that incident.

There are those who would like to enact a law prohibiting that weapon, except for the military and police, and others, including [the] NRA, who are against any restrictions.

The only fair remedy to this situation would be a national referendum, giving every voting citizen the right to make his or her choice. It would be a people’s decision, not that of legislators pressured by lobbyists, including the NRA, who more often than not do not always reflect the voting desires of their constituents. This would truly be democracy in action, with our citizens having their say.

I recognize this would be a very lengthy procedure, but some things are worth waiting for. This would not have any impact on the legal weapons of hunters, sportsmen or those used for safety purposes. However, it would truly reflect the wishes of the citizens. Democracy in every sense of the word.

Edward Panfil

Burnt Hills

As with illicit drugs, gun ban won’t stop criminals

When it comes to passing new restrictions on our Second Amendment rights, I would ask people to look at our current drug laws.

Drugs like cocaine, heroin and other opiates ruin more lives than any other problem our country faces. They are 100 percent illegal, yet they are all over.

As long as they exist, the criminals will always have them available! Laws only apply to law-abiding people. The criminals don’t care, they are going to have them either way. They will also be more daring and violent, knowing that people cannot defend themselves legally. Violent and/or mentally ill people will always find a way to inflict their pain.

Also, there is no mention of what pharmaceuticals, (prescribed or not) that [Newtown shooter] Adam Lanza was on.

Why is there no responsibility for the laws that decided [Webster, N.Y. shooter] William Spangler was safe for society after killing his grandmother with a hammer?

Robert Todt


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