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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/23/2018

Banning guns won’t stop tragedies from happening

Banning guns won’t stop tragedies from happening

*Banning guns won’t stop tragedies from happening

Banning guns won’t stop tragedies from happening

Parents, grandparents and all people of good will must demand that our lawmakers act in the best interest of keeping safe our most precious possessions. We must demand that they put away the partisanship that has left us all vulnerable to those who prey upon our society.

We protect ourselves with town police, county police, state police, armed security guards in our malls, courthouses, train stations, airports and many schools. We have an Army Navy, Coast Guard, Border Security, FBI and federal marshals. Yet, many say that we cannot protect our children while in school — e.g. a recent statement by the Schenectady School Superintendent Laurence Spring that police don’t belong in our schools .

A recent Gazette op-ed stated that an armed guard failed to stop a crime, without mentioning that the recent shooting in Portland, Ore., ended when the shooter, confronted by an armed shopper, took his own life,

Nor that a vice principal in Pearl, Miss., halted a shooting because he was armed with a Colt .45 pistol, nor that a shooting in a West Virginia law school came to an abrupt end when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter. Not to protect ourselves with every possible means is irresponsible, at best.

One does not give up one’s car because someone drives drunk and commits mayhem [i.e., New Year’s Eve in Saratoga Springs.] Why, then, would one give up their gun because someone commits mayhem with them?

To date, politicians of both parties have failed miserably and acted irresponsibly in the quest to safeguard our kids. That travesty continues due to their political agendas — i.e., [New York Senate Majority Leader] Dean Skelos proposed over last weekend more regulation of assault weapons and harsher penalties.

It’s time to take an intelligent look beyond the gun as the only problem. The anti-gun hysteria demonstrated after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., continues today and does nothing but cloud and exacerbate the problem. Since when did banning anything work? Drugs, smoking, alcohol?

The reality is that there are 280 million firearms in the possession of this country’s populace. — most legally owned. People can manufacture them, steal them, buy them illegally, and even with a 3-D printer download a working gun.

Would we become a nation that arms its 18-year-olds and sends them off to protect us from the criminals of the world; and then ban their gun and deny them the right to defend their families against the criminals in their country?

It’s also time to get over the notion that gun buy-back programs reduce crime; they may in fact increase the crime rate. After all, who is going to sell a gun; except those druggies, who then have the incentive now to go break into a law-abiding gun owner’s home so they can sell their legal gun for drug money.

For the average citizen to receive a permit to carry a weapon in New York City is impossible. However, the gun violence continues unabated there.

The Supreme Court has, in two cases, recently upheld the individual’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms — although with the caveat that the government can impose regulatory limits on felons and the mentally ill from buying guns and regulating certain types of heavy weapons. However, as stated in our Constitution, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” still stands.

Conversely, our legislators need to confront this reality and realize that a gun ban would not have prevented the Newtown/Fort Hood/Virgina Tech/Portland shootings. So, it’s time to deal with the reality that millions of legally owned guns are here to stay.

Let’s say that in a perfect world there were no guns in the country. How, then, would the criminally insane thrill-seekers, criminals and other evil-doers commit their crimes? Make a bomb with fertilizer and blow up buildings, poison a water supply, throw acid or a Molotov cocktail, set fire to a school or use a car bomb, a baseball bat, machete, or simply stop at a local hardware store and purchase a semi-automatic nail gun?

The mentally ill walk among us all day, every day. It’s time to stop advertising our schools as “gun-free zones.“ Until we can figure out how to ban bad behavior and regulate human behavior, it then becomes incumbent on all well-meaning people to use every legal means possible to defend ourselves and protect our schools.

The proposition put forth by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to protect our kids with armed personnel is the only responsible and easily done proposition out there at the moment. However, it does not have to be the only one.

Examples are: 1) the common link of all the recent shootings is not the gun, but the mental instability of those who simply use a gun to commit their crimes. Could they have used other means? Of course. The need to overhaul our mental health care needs to be addressed. All mentally ill certainly are not criminally ill.

2) Could be Israel. No nation in the world faces more threats than they. Most of its young people serve a time in the military; many of its citizens are armed. Their airport has no TSA, no shoe removal, no humiliating body searchers, and is the safest airport in the world.

Why? They have moved beyond the political correctness nonsense that has prevented us from profiling. Their armed patrol and security observation monitors its airline travelers and is 100 percent effective. Some form of that should be considered.

Not only do our legislators have to be held accountable, but also those school administrators and teacher unions that seem to put political correctness above the safety of our kids. Not all of these people are at fault. The Staten Island School Board recently recommended placing retired police in their schools. However, the ultra anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will have the last say.

As these tragedies seem to run in bunches, will the continued “ban the gun” rhetoric continue to cost lives?

John Osterlitz


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