Help get gun legislation over the finish line

Help get gun legislation over the finish line

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To the Editor:

Tragedy unfolds in our country from the barrel of a gun every single day. One that will live in our hearts until infinity happened just before Christmas, when a crazed, brilliant boy shot and killed 26 people in a public school. Twenty of them were young children. He used a Bushmaster (see http://www.cabelas.com/semiautomatic-bushmaster-firearms-15-rifles-4.shtml) semiautomatic rifle. He got it from his mother’s house. He also murdered her.

At first, outcry flooded our landscape. The tide was powerful. President Obama cried on television. Talking heads couldn’t stop shaking their skulls, spewing passion about how the violence must stop. The president and others have asked us to write our representatives in support of the new bill that Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced. The NRA president has suggested we put armed guards in every school. He conveniently forgets Columbine, where there was an armed guard.

Senator Feinstein’s bill (S 150) (see http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/assault-weapons-ban-summary) regulates all semi-automatic weapons in the hands of civilians; requires universal background checks (no exceptions); bans magazines with more than 10 rounds. The bill is supported by an impressive list of police chiefs, cities, mayors etc. (See http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/assault-weapons-ban-endorsements). Yet, there are both Republicans and Democrats who believe they can go against public opinion which supports stricter gun regulation and try to gut the provisions of this bill. (See http://www.pollingreport.com/guns.htm). There are more than 2,000 weapons not affected. Never mind. Never mind that these legislators do not honor the dead who are the result of massive gun violence in our culture. Not their problem.

I have yet to understand why anyone would need a semi-automatic weapon that can fire dozens of rounds per minute (depending on the speed of your trigger finger) for any other purpose other than killing human beings. Or an automatic weapon which fires ad infinitum with just the flick of a finger. If you believe that you are legitimately arming yourself to the teeth because you must prepare to fight a “tyrannical” government, may I suggest that your AK-47 isn’t going to hold up very well against an armored tank or supersonic jets bombing the crap out of your location. Maybe your assault weapon can defend against a sophisticated drone targeting you and your colleagues. Perhaps it is time to find another way to fight the “good fight” and allow other sane citizens to move on to protect our children from those with fantasies of blowing up human flesh and lives.

According to govtrak.us, this bill stands a 10 percent chance of getting out of committee; a one percent chance of passing and becoming law (see http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s150). Let’s increase those odds. Write your representative? Okay. But I believe that in order for us to really be heard we must speak as one community. Why not petition our government to support Senator Feinstein’s bill. Why not bring up this issue in our towns and vote on a non-binding resolution to support Senator Feinstein’s bill (S. 150)? Who knows, maybe the seed we plant with this resolution will soar across our land with all the passion and love that we have for our children. Maybe our voices will finally be heard. Worth a try. We have nothing to lose but our fear. During times of disaster we look to our government for help.

Today our government needs our help.

Jack Schimmelman

Edgartown

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