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Letter to the Editor

May 27, 2022 Published in the DuBois Courier Express and the Punxsutawney Spirit

Letter to the Editor / OpEd:

The differences in the Republican vs. Democratic party response and positioning on the subject of Gun Violence and School Shootings, and the causes/solutions to this problem in America, is quite stark.  People like Ted Cruz stand behind the Constitutional Right for law abiding citizens to bear arms, as allowed by the (outdated?) 2nd Amendment (written 231 years ago and refers to the right to bear arms and form a militia), and that we shouldn’t be saying it’s a Gun Control issue, but rather a Mental Health Problem (Let’s face it, we’ll never be able to identify, in advance, all of those who “might” commit mass shootings).  Ted’s “solution” to school shootings is have only ONE door in & out of schools (not practical), and to put more armed guards in the schools!  

It seems that mass shootings get blamed on everything BUT the guns themselves!

Republicans, in states like Texas, acted very swiftly and strongly in putting forth legislation to control women’s bodies, and protecting the lives/rights of embryos.  Why not the same fervor and urgency to protect the lives of children attending school?  Who really is the Pro-Life party?!  

From all that I’ve read, it seems that common-sense solutions to gun violence lie in the following four areas, not necessarily total solutions, but each would contribute to reducing school shootings…

1. Expand Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases (The House has passed H.R. 8, while the Senate has stalled on even bringing this up for a vote, even though 80 percent of people favor this).

2. Assault Rifle Ban (AR-15s, AR-47s, etc.) – This was in place from 1994 – 2004, and mass shootings plummeted, but the law expired in 2004.  It needs to be reinstated!

3. A Ban on High-Capacity Magazines

4. Enforce Federal Red Flag Law (Permits police or family members to petition a state court to temporarily remove a firearm from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves).

Certainly, assault weapons should not be available for sale to 18 year olds, which is/was the age of the perpetrators of the two most recent mass shootings.  Adam Kinzinger (R) U.S. Representative, Ill., recently stated that you have to be 21 to buy cigarettes, 21 to buy a handgun, but only 18 to buy a long gun.  If an entire ban on assault rifles cannot be quickly achieved, surely an easy first step would be to raise the age requirement from 18 to 21 in short order.  Frankly, the only people who should have assault weapons are Law Enforcement and Military.  If “regular people” are allowed to have/use assault weapons, for “sport,” they should be stored under lock & key at a place such as a shooting range.

So why has so little been done and why do (lacking backbone, gutless) Republicans continue to road block steps that could be taken to reduce gun violence?  It’s all about money, of course!  Many Republican political leaders get large campaign donations from the NRA (and, I suspect, gun manufacturers, and gun retailers).  They resist measures that even “smell” like gun control, under the premise that there’s a “domino theory” or “slippery slope.”  They say that if one measure passes, then that will lead to other Gun Control measures.  We live in a part of the country where people love their guns and will resist any measures that they perceive might “take away their rights as responsible gun owners.”  Our “gun culture” and the advanced technology and “killing power” of weaponry has gone far beyond the intent of the 2nd Amendment, passed in 1791. 

(Per, the NRA has spent millions lobbying against Congress passing gun violence prevention legislation.  These Senators refuse to support common-sense gun reform, like expanding background checks or banning assault weapons.  Fully 19 REPUBLICAN Senators have received over $1,000,000 from the NRA in their political careers, including our own Pat Toomey!  They need to represent us, the voters, NOT the NRA!)

And what about local gun shops that offer assault weapons for sale?  Wouldn’t it be a significant and courageous step for local gun shops to simply remove assault weapons and high-capacity magazines from their inventory, such as several of the big-box stores have done!  Are the profits that high that they can’t afford to do away with that inventory?  I, for one, would support them even more if I knew they took the step to remove assault weapon inventory.

In summary, we are becoming numb to mass killings of innocent children in this country.  Statistically, we’re the highest in the world, by far!  Guns have become theleading cause of death among children in our country!  People should be outraged!  We have a great country but gun violence is a dark stain on our existence.  Why is it so easy for people to get their hands on guns and what’s to stop them from using them for violence?  Self-defense, sport – noble concepts, but a gun is a weapon that can kill someone, and all too often, DOES kill someone.  Keep in mind, too, the high incidence of suicide in this country, often committed by young males.  Would it be so high if guns weren’t so readily available?

It is my hope, and the hope of like-minded Democrats, that common-sense measures can be enacted by our political leaders, with cooperation from both sides of the aisle.  We have seen that school shootings (and other mass shootings) can happen anywhere, any time.  We must act to honor the memory of the innocent victims and their families, who did nothing to deserve this.

Contact your government officials, including U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R) and Bob Casey (D), Congressman Glenn Thompson (R), and State Reps Brian Smith (R) and Chris Dush (R) – Google them and they all have online forms or addresses where they can be contacted. Thank you.

John Adduci

Jefferson County Democratic Committee