, Gloucester, MA

December 28, 2012

Letter: Time for sensible talk, action guns

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Today, I pledge to do my part to engage in the gun control conversation.

Up until now, I simply ignored the propaganda from the people who believe that everyone has a right to bear any kind of arms. Coincidently enough, just prior to the Newtown shootings, I removed some friends (and a family member) from my Facebook page because of their stance on guns and the messages they were disseminating. I felt like weighing in, but didn’t want to be confrontational.

By being silent, we let the conversation be one-sided and we make sure there is no chance it would become an issue politicians would actually tackle. In their mind, it is too risky and they don’t think they have enough support because we’ve all been quiet. Don’t they know the NRA will attack them no matter if they talk about it or not?

The Dec. 14 events at Newtown, Conn.’s Sandy Hook School hit close to home for a lot of parents. Actually, things have hit closer to home in the past. Growing up, my wife lost family friends in a shooting in Oregon, and I lost a friend in the 1989 massacre in Montreal. Yes, a mass shooting in Montreal. A crazy gunman killed 14 people in a college with a .22 rifle. Imagine how many he could have killed if assault weapons were legal in Canada — which they aren’t.

There will always be crazy people that will have access to guns. This doesn’t make it an excuse not to have the debate or to try to do something about it. We need to do restrict which guns sane and crazy people have access to.

I strongly feel no individuals should have weapons that are built for killing in mass. Why do let we manufacturers build and profit off weapons that can shoot hundred of rounds, have magazines on hand guns that can hold more than eight bullets and have finishes that are fingerprint proof? Why do we sell bulletproof vests to people? Who buys those?

Some, of course, believe we cannot even have intelligent discussions because of the “right to bear arms” amendment. Enough with this lame argument.

First of all, the Constitution says a “militia” has a right to bear arms, not individuals. Second, the Constitution was adopted in 1787, when bullets were round and guns came with bayonets. The Constitution has been amended 27 times for good reasons, because we’ve evolved in the last 225 years. Let me state the obvious, Amendment 2 is an amendment!

Although I am personally not a gun owner, I can live in a society where people have the right to own guns. I just feel strongly that they shouldn’t own “weapons of mass destruction” and that we should do background checks to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of as many dangerous people as possible.

Today, I pledge that I will engage in this dialogue and not shy away from misinformation and intimidation. I pledge to my daughters that I will do my part so they can be safe going to school, the movie theater, a summer camp or the mall.

I would like to end by thanking our friend John Rosenthal, the founder of Stop Handgun Violence. We have stood silent while he has been carrying on this fight for us.

John, I promise to do my part — and I hope the president does his.