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Article published December 31, 2012
Reinstate gun ban
Rick Devore Butler
As I scan the Internet, all the predictable comments from the Second Amendment crowd are appearing again in the wake of the latest gun massacre in Newtown, Conn. I’ll deal with a sampling of the most illogical ones. “Guns don’t kill people.” “It’s a mental health issue, not a gun issue.” “If killers can’t get guns legally, they’ll get them illegally, and only the bad guys will have guns.” “Instead of banning guns, they should ban alcohol, cigarettes, cars, the forks that obese people eat with, etc., since those things kill more people than guns.” Of course guns don’t kill people; it’s the bullets that kill people. And, today’s mass murderers are using assault-style weapons that can pump out 100 or more high-powered rounds in a minute, killing more people faster than conventional guns. These guns are killing machines. They’re weapons of war. And, extended clips for handguns turn standard guns into assault weapons, giving the shooter unlimited shots. Mental illness is, and always has been, an insidious malady that is very difficult to pin down or treat. We should ramp up our efforts to deal with mental illness as a nation, but it will be hard to make a dent in the problem. What we can do right now is to take the most dangerous weapons out of the equation before the next would-be mass-shooter snaps out on society. When we look at the most infamous shootings — Columbine, Tucson, Aurora and Newtown — the perpetrators were young males who might be described as nerds or wimps, whose weapons were obtained legally and bought locally. They’re not the sort of guys who would go into a dangerous neighborhood, contact gang members or deal with the Mafia. The guns, ammunition and body armor are readily available to anybody with a credit card. Naturally, there are a lot of things that can kill us. Cigarettes probably will kill me. However, there is nothing that can kill faster and in a more terrifying manner than the aforementioned weapons. The time is right now to reinstate the assault weapons ban of 1994 that was so unwisely repealed, and to close gun show loopholes and implement more stringent background checks for gun sales. Those steps won’t end gun violence but they will lower the body counts. It’s a no-brainer. I hope others will contact their congressman and President Barack Obama and demand that they do the right thing.