Dave Stalling: The NRA Doesn’t Kill People (But They Sure Do Their Part)

No matter what you thought when you saw the headline above — fist-pumping agreement, or blood-boiling anger — read this about the author of  today’s post. He’s a Westporter — but his back story may surprise you.

Dave Stalling — a 1979 graduate of Staples High School — moved to Montana in 1986, after serving in a Marine Corps Force Recon unit. He has degrees in forestry and journalsim, has worked for several wildlife conservation organizations, served as president of the Montana Wildlife Federation, and worked to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” through the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. He is an avid hunter and angler, and a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation and gay rights.

The recent school shooting in Newtown overwhelms the ability of my heart, mind and emotions to even comprehend. When I went to Staples High School in the 1970s, such a thing was unheard of.

Dave Stalling

Dave Stalling

Yet guns were prevalent in our society. I had one: a shotgun to hunt ducks and pheasants. Before I was trusted with it, I took an NRA safety course — back when the NRA focused on responsible, proper handling and storage of guns, and worked in a nonpartisan manner to protect reasonable gun rights. It was before they turned into a radical, uncompromising, extreme right wing branch of the GOP.

I keep hearing the tiresome old NRA cliché: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!” Which is inevitably followed by arguments of how dangerous baseball bats and knives can be, “yet no one is calling on banning them.” But when was the last time a sick and twisted person walked into a school or a movie theatre and was able to quickly kill a lot of people with a baseball bat or a knife? It takes a semi-automatic or automatic weapon to pull such a tragedy off – the kind of weapon designed to kill people with no legitimate purpose outside of the military.

I became pretty proficient with powerful and dangerous weapons while serving in a Marine Corps Force Recon unit. They are tools of war. It’s ridiculous to think citizens should have a right to possess such weapons.

Dave Stalling and his son Cory.

Dave Stalling and his son Cory.

Perhaps it’s not the “weapons” that kill people, but I assure you from my experience you can fire a lot more rounds more quickly, and kill a lot more people more quickly, with a 7.62 mm M60 machine gun than, say, my 7mm-08 bolt action hunting rifle. That is why Marines and soldiers are issued and trained to use more proficient tools of the trade. And why nobody walks into a school or movie theatre and kills a whole bunch of people with a baseball bat or knife.

I hope I never lose the right to keep the rifles and shotguns I use for hunting. I keep them locked in a secure safe at all times, unloaded (and separate from the bullets and shells) where only I can get access to them.

After I left the Marine Corps and moved to Montana, I found elk hunting to be a good, sustainable way to live in that part of the world. But I never had the need or desire to own semi-automatic and automatic rifles designed to efficiently kill lots of people quickly.

The only people I’ve met who have such weapons seem to do it for their egos, to brag about, to feel more manly, or to “defend” themselves from a government that apparently might come after us all if we don’t have machine guns. It’s a violent and macho attitude, promoted by the NRA.

The NRA doesn’t kill people, but they sure do their part.

No_NRAWe live in a society that glorifies violence. We live in a society where weapons are easy to obtain. We live in a society where some people think we should all be able to own any type of weapons we want.

We live in a society where violence is considered good, legitimate entertainment but love between some people is considered disgusting, immoral and sinful. And we live in a society where far too often people walk into movie theatres and schools and randomly kill innocent people.

It really makes no sense. I hope we figure it out.

152 responses to “Dave Stalling: The NRA Doesn’t Kill People (But They Sure Do Their Part)

  1. David, well said.

  2. It’s encouraging that folks like Dave, who own guns, are stepping up now for reasonable controls on these ‘weapons of war’ being sold at places like WalMart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Long overdue but welcome nonetheless.

  3. Thank you.

  4. If you need to own and fire weapons of war to feel manly, then volunteer for the armed services and become the real thing, like David. I say that as a decorated veteran of Vietnam.

    I also encourage everyone to make their disgust about this issue known directly to your members of Congress. I have written my U.S. Senators and Congresswoman letters pledging that I have become a single-issue voter: If they vote against outlawing assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, or if they accept any contribution from the NRA or other gun lobbies, they will not get my vote again. Consider doing the same. This slaughter has to stop.

  5. Thank you, David. And it’s worth a mention that I heard Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores took their guns off the shelves starting last Sat. out of respect for the babies that were gunned down. While other stores watched their sales of military weapons soar because customers were stocking up, afraid of anticipated changes to gun laws.

  6. The Second Amendment was written when guns consisted of a one bullet musket that took four minutes to reload.

    • It was written to allow the citizens of the United States to defend the country or to rise up against it. The expectation is that we are allowed to be as heavily armed as an invading force or our own military.

      How about we only allow citizen ownership of arms up to the level of that carried by your average US soldier? That would keep the playing field level.

      • If that’s what the Second Amendment implied, can I own a Drone and a few Scud missles?

        • There should be some limit to what type of arms an individual is allowed to own. The great majority of people would agree with that sentiment

          I am just trying to set a realistic limit which maintains our Constitutional rights. I believe that limit should be what an average US soldier carries, so drones and scuds would not be allowed.

          • Shoulder fired Surface to Air missles are carried by soldiers. The point is when the Second Amendement was written, hunting was a necessity to survive and a gun was needed to hunt and for protection. The Second Amendment is obsolete

            • How about the first? Or the Fifth? Any others you would like eliminated?

              • Only the second one which has become obsolete. The others are still relevant. I can go to Stop and Shop to get my food. I don’t need a musket.

                • You are misinformed; reread the amendment. Protecting hunters was not its purpose.

                  • Are you now spending time with the well regulated militia? good for you. And good luck with overthrowing the tyrants. That should be a busy weekend.

                  • I just re-read the 2nd Amendment. I’m guessing that about 99% of those who play with military grade weapons aren’t members of a “well-regulated militia”, and the other 1% are in fringe militias plotting treason against the U.S. It’s long since time those weapons were well-regulated.

                    • What is a military grade weapon? Be specific? Why don’t we just throw everyone you don’t like in jail? Sort of the way FDR did. Fortunately, we have a constitution to to protect us from your form of mob rule.

                  • The point is we don’t NEED guns anymore like they were needed at one point in our history. We have a National Guard which can be federalized and we have a well funded military to protect the country. Our government isn’t going to turn on us so we don’t need protection against our own government. We could live very well like they do in England without guns. Some have this irrational idea we need to arm ourselves to protect us against our own governemt.

                    • We don’t need alcohol either. We don’t NEED horses. BTW who are you to decide what we NEED?

                    • Horses don’t murder 20 children. Who am I? I’m Mr. Common sense. If you don’t think guns kill people, try committing a mass murder in a movie theater with a spoon.

                    • Are you sure the government has no intentions of turning on us?

                    • You’d be more likely to hit the Powerball nine weeks in a row than see our government turn on its citizens in a way that would necesitate its citizens being armed. However, if I am wrong, our government has nuclear weapons, drones, B52 bombers and a lot more firepower to get the job done, Get the point?

                  • I’m not misinformed, I’ve read the amendment several times. Nowhere does it say we have the right to murder. And my opinion bears my real name; What’s your real name, Anonymous?

            • You sir, should go back and re-read the 2nd Amendment along with what our founding fathers words regarding the right to bear arms. Our constitution is as pertinent today, if not more so today, particularly because of the lack of ethics that exist within our leadership today. You cannot pick & choose to your fancy which parts of the founding constitution to keep or dispose of.

              • The Constitution has been amended before and should be again. Why would anyone nowadays need a weapon that fires 100 rounds per minute? When the Second Constitution was written, people needed muskets for protection and to hunt for food. It took over two minutes to reload the gun. In England, the police don’t carry guns. Can you imagine the chaos in this country if the police didn’t carry guns? Imagine the city of Detroit where the police didn’t carry guns. It would be total chaos. The Second Amendment is obsolete. It was written during a time when a gun was really needed to survive; before there was a professional army and police forces to protect us. The Second Amendment is obsolete.

      • And if we didn’t amend the Constitution, only white men would be making our laws and voting for our representatives.

      • Mary Schumacher

        It was written with the expectation that the militias would be our protection from “an invading army” by men who did not believe the nation should have a standing army — that is, a military that they had “the expectation” citizens would arm themselves against. If you genuinely believe in the founders actual vision and “expectations” then you must be prepared to both demand the disbandment of our standing army, and prepared, as a citizen soldier, to train with and subject yourself to the discipline and authority of, a militia, And, of course, be prepared to fight with that militia in the country’s defense. If you are not prepared to make those demands and take on those responsibilities, you aren’t doing anything more than playing with your guns while mis-using our constitution as some sort of fantasy game guidebook.

    • one of the most important comments of the day

      • Someone said my comment was one of the most important of the day so I’ll repeat it. When the Second Amendment was written, guns consisted of a one bullet musket that took four minutes to reload. The technoogy of that era only allowed for one shot every four minutes.

        • It was written to allow the citizens of the United States to defend the country or to rise up against it. The expectation is that we are allowed to be as heavily armed as an invading force or our own military.

          How about we only allow citizen ownership of arms up to the level of that carried by your average US soldier? That would keep the playing field level.

          It’s like deja vu all over again!

          • How about shoulder-fired Surface to Air Missles? Can someone have them? How about the guns a SWAT Team may have? Can people walk around with those? I can’t wait until 10:30 today for the big news conference from the NRA!

            • There should be some limit to what type of arms an individual is allowed to own. The great majority of people would agree with that sentiment

              I am just trying to set a realistic limit which maintains our Constitutional rights. I believe that limit should be what an average US soldier carries, so surface-to-air missiles would not be allowed.

              It’s like deja vu all over again, iterated!

              • I believe there are shoulder fired Surface to Air missles that can be carried since they are hand held and shot by one soldier. Therefore, by your logic, they can be carried by any citizen. You need to be consistent.

                • I am being very concise and consistent in what I am saying. The AVERAGE US soldier does not carry surface-to-air missiles.

                  I have presented a precise option for where the limit should be and this can be debated. Where is your line?

                  • The definition of “average” depends on where that soldier is at the time. Are we talking about an “average” soldier in a war zone, or an “average” soldier who works in the Pentagon on Army Navy Drive? If we’re armed to protect ourselves from OUR government, then we might need assault weapons and Surface to Air Missles. Our government does have Drones that can be used against us!Isn’t that one reason some think it’s necessary to be armed…to protect ourselves against our own government?

        • A technicality, but an argument has more validity when the facts are straight. A typical musket from the 18th century can be fired 3 times a minute by a skilled soldier. More damage was done with the bayonet than with musket balls.

      • In the early days some white males couldn’t vote! Only white men who owned land could vote. I just thought I’d clarify that.

  7. Hello David, Well said. Have not seen you In many years. Happy to see you are doing well. I see your brother Bob from time to time. If you ever come back to Westport look me . Take care and have a great holiday.

  8. I hope he submits this to the NY Times op ed page or other venues where it might get a wider reading.

  9. Amen to those remarks

  10. Powerfully stated by two military vets, Dave S and my ’65 football captain Steve Doig. No sane counter-argument exists or ever will exist.

  11. The Second Amendment was written about what the citizens may do and what the government can’t do. Already statements have been made about legislation which woulld violate that condition. In addition, many years ago, a court decision mandated the freedom of thousands of the certified mentally ill because incarceration was a violation of their civil rights; putting many onto the streets. At the same time, this mandate led to the elimination of hospital systems which housed the unfortunates.
    Shotgun legislation which leads to unanticipated results will not cure a problem by throwing words-mostly partisan-at the situation. Our nation still hides the mentally ill from the masses. There is no ‘Susan Komen” effort by the many and the disease relies on basically a few not for profits for support. There is no real leadership or support in Congress for a national program to address the situation. The country spends literally billions in foreign aid forweapons. Where is the health aid for our citizens?
    In Switzerlad it is the law that every citizen be armed. They are educated on the pupose of the law. Other than the rantings of the ‘pro lobby’, our eductional system does nothing about educating the students about weapons. Yet, we spend many dollars teaching them to participate in sex
    which can also be deadly.
    Finally, too many are shouting about the exclusive ‘death culture’ of our society, Please read about the slaughter of the ‘Kulaks”, the slaughter of the Muslims in Serbia, Saddam Husseins’ gassing of his own citizens and speak to an armless youth in the Congo. We must teach against the culture, not about it.

    • Just a quick clarification on Switzerland – since I just returned from there today and asked the very question. While those trained to handle weapons (not every citizen) are required to keep their weapons in their homes – they do not have ammunition for those weapons. If needed a militia can be raised, and ammunition would then be provided.

      Also note from this trip that our national tragedy was all over the papers in Europe and they simply do not understand how we can continue to allow these things to happen. Neother can I.

      • My fiancé is from Australia. She is in Melbourne now getting ready to come to the US. She is now a bit apprehensive about coming here. So many in Australia see us as more of a third world, undeveloped country. Great income disparity, no universal healthcare and guns everywhere. Their GNP per capita is 37% higher than ours. There dollar is on par with ours. Education is $5000 a year for college. You don’t pay back the loan until or if you salary reaches $50,000 a year. Everybody gets healthcare free. I love it here but I look forward to going there to live. They have so many things that I yearn for this country to have. I am disgusted by the gun culture in the US. I agree with Dave’s assertion about the machismo factor of having a hideous weapon. There is no Nirvana but we can do so much better. Bob Lyon

  12. Thank you both David and Steve; very thoughtful and sane remarks from responsible men with plenty of gun experience.

  13. When confronting a “crisis” the response of the political class has been to punish the innocent, deprive individuals of their freedom, and pander to the desire to do something or anything. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, FDR threw 100,000 Americans into prison camps, LBJ sent 52,000 Americans off to die, Bush invaded Iraq and got the Patriot Act passed. In each case the response to a “crisis” resulted in the deprivation of individual rights and/or needless loss of life. Now, we are confronted by another “crisis”, and once again the cry is to deprive the innocent of their rights. The person who committed the crime is dead, but he is the only person who stands guilty.

    • No sir, he may have pulled the trigger, but he had accomplices and enablers, witting or unwitting. His mother and her gun and ammo suppliers. Walmart and Dicks.
      The NRA and its lackeys, through their absolute opposition to reasonable gun control, are the biggest enablers of the Adam Lanzas of the world. The NRA is the “political class” to which you refer.

      • And you too were an accomplice. What hogwash. Ultimately individuals are responsible for ther own actions.

      • Your rant is incoherent. The NRA does not serve in Congress. We have reasonable gun control in CT. Do you know what the regulations are? The murderer was not in possession of the weapons legally. What law would you change, and what difference would it make, and how do you know?

        • The NRA doesn’t serve in Congress? On which planet do you live on?

          • Once again you are incoherent.

            • And you are? Here’s an idea, sir or madam, read this post from the Federal Judge who recently sentenced the shooter in the Tucson massacre. He’s a Republican, conservative, pro-gun ownership guy, but he supports reasonable controls on this ridiculous assault weapons that are as easy to get as candy. http://tinyurl.com/c6e4mpg He concludes: “There is just no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison chili, shoot for sport and competition, and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are a part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden.

              It speaks horribly of the public discourse in this country that talking about gun reform in the wake of a mass shooting is regarded as inappropriate or as politicizing the tragedy. But such a conversation is political only to those who are ideologically predisposed to see regulation of any kind as the creep of tyranny. And it is inappropriate only to those delusional enough to believe it would disrespect the victims of gun violence to do anything other than sit around and mourn their passing. Mourning is important, but so is decisive action.”

        • Murderer’s guns were legal in CT. Gun laws are not strict enough here or in any of the 50 states. Just a little stricter than in AZ.

    • Dude, go ahead and search on Amazon.com for a nuclear weapon. Your “right” and the rights of other “innocents” around what weapons they can possess under the 2nd ammendment have already been limited. Get out your fife and drum and pretend they haven’t. Intelligent people are now discussing how much further we need to push back those limits to protect the legitimate rights of others to be free from being massacred. And the traditional obstructionists to sensible gun laws, the NRA and the feckless state and federal politicians that they have purchased, are gearing up to spread the hate on even thicker than before.

    • What a bunch of mean Liberals we are, trying to deprive every Joe Sixpack from rabbit hunting with an AK-15.

  14. Hmm. Once upon a time there were no laws against drinking and driving. But American society decided that even though most drinking drivers haven’t caused accidents, it still was desirable for the common good to deprive us of our right to drive while intoxicated. Outright Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work, and I don’t argue that outlawing possession of any firearms is at all reasonable or workable. But just as outlawing drunk driving didn’t end the freedom to use alcohol, outlawing the possession of military-grade weaponry by civilians doesn’t mean the end of Second Amendment freedom. That’s just an NRA bogeyman.

    • We oultlawed drinking a driving, how did that work out? How many are killed each year by drunk drivers? You want to restrict the rights of individuals on the basis of the actions of a criminal.

      • Actually, I think the laws against drunk driving have worked out quite well. Instead of asking how many are killed each year by drunk drivers, the better question is how many more aren’t killed? Yes, the deranged still will kill innocents even if military-grade weapons are outlawed, but if Adam Lanza had to stop to reload a six-shooter, perhaps some of those heroic teachers would have had a chance to save more kids. The fact that a law isn’t perfectly effective doesn’t mean it is ineffective.

      • Twenty babies were massacred on the day many of them were planning to make gingerbread houses. They were mowed down in a matter of four minutes. FOUR MINUTES. Yes, it is time to restrict people’s rights to weapons that have one sole purpose: to kill.

        BTW, ask police officials and MADD and they will tell you that the drunk drivers laws have saved many lives.

  15. GREAT POST. this should be blasted on FB!

  16. Apologies in advance for the long Rant…(I greatly appreciate Dave’s discussion and Dan’s able stewarding of 06880 throughout this crisis)

    The NRA Doesn’t Kill People – but they sure do their part…Yes!
    …and of course not without a little help from their friends.
    The gun industry’s political connections go much deeper than the NRA. To get truly upstream in this clusterf*#k gun control issue…follow the politics and the money.

    Adam Lanza’s gun of choice, The Bushmaster AR-15, (Michele Bachmann has called it her “favorite gun.”) is produced through one of a “family of companies,” a shell, called Freedom Group, which in turn is owned/managed by Cerberus Capital Management (a private equity firm.) Dan Quayle is the Chairman of Cerberus’ international division, Cerberus Global Investments. Former Treasury Secretary John Snow is Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management. Until just earlier this week, Cerebrus (named after the mythical three-headed dog that guards the gates of hell…see Dante, etc. – you can’t make this stuff up, apparently) owned 15 gun manufacturers with $238 million in total sales last quarter.

    Cerebrus announced that they are unloading Freedom Group after a major investor, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, said that Friday’s shootings forced it to review its $751.4 million investment with the equity firm. Following California’s lead, New York’s state and city pension fund systems are also reviewing their investments in gun companies — with an eye to possibly divesting.

    Turns out, that Cerberus’s founder, Stephen Feinberg (Greenwich resident) is connected to the tragedy not just through his business but personally as well. His father, Martin Feinberg, is a resident of Liberty at Newtown, a community for people 55 and older that’s about 6 miles from Sandy Hook.

    We live in a society in which people like to make money (directly or at “arms length”)… even on guns, guns that can kill, and have killed people. That is until it hits close to home, or threatens their bottom line. “Disgusting, immoral and sinful.” Agreed…leave it to the Teachers to take the lead on divestiture…hopefully, in time, it will prove to have been a kill shot to the head, this madness that enables Adam Lanza, et al. to slip their fingers into the triggers of military grade, multi-magazine assault style weapons

  17. Memories . . .

    Very well said Dave, I appreciate your comments and your opinion. I’m not a “gun person” and I often wonder why we never hear sane logical comments from the NRA and other “gun people”. It’s great to hear an old friend who I have respect and admiration for voice a clear logical opinion about such a critical issue in our society. It’s just tragic that it even took the horrific events in Newtown to even bring this critical issueback into the public conscience. Thanks for sharing your opinion with all of us and Merry Christmas!
    Michael Nuzzo

  18. Thank you Dave – and Dan – for this post, and Stephen for the comments. May common sense prevail.

  19. The Newtown shooter did not use a machine gun.

  20. Every year more schoolchildren die in school bus accidents than by triggers.

    • School buses are intended to transport children. When accidents occur, children die. Weapons are designed to kill. When Adam Lanza pulled the trigger, it was no accident.

  21. http://www.demandaplan.org/

    It’s time. Join more than 750 mayors and 750,000 grassroots supporters to demand that President Obama and Congress step forward with a plan to end gun violence.

    Our efforts cannot bring back the 20 innocent children murdered in Newtown, CT — or the 34 people murdered with guns every day in America. But we can prevent future tragedies by passing common sense legislation that will:

    1. Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
    2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
    3. Make gun trafficking a federal crime, including real penalties for “straw purchasers”
    Demand that your members of Congress and the president support these legislative priorities.

  22. Thanks for posting this Dan, and thanks to all who left kind, interesting and thought-provoking feedback.

    I find it sadly funny, and perhaps a bit ironic, that those who boldly express the staunch, macho, uncompromising belief that anyone should be allowed to own any kind of weapons they want (and then attack and insult those who don’t agree with them) mostly do so in such a very “unboldly” anonymous manner.

    It would be my guess that they’re fortunate enough to not have been involved in or actually experienced gun-related violence.

    Regardless, they’re too hidden behind their anonymity to be taken seriously.

    • Hi David,

      I was on-board with your thinking until this incredibly asinine comment. You had your say and voiced it beautifully.. Let it be and allow others — anonymous or not — to have their say.

      I find it incredibly offensive and, to an extent, oppressive for the post’s author to interject with snarky commentary and unnecessary push back. Who cares if they use a name or not? And who cares if they voice their opposing view?

      Be open to that and ADDRESS the substance they offer up, rather than focus on something so silly as a username. This is a democracy and strangers…yes, strangers without names…have the right to object and provide a different viewpoint. It’s a healthy, robust debate. You fought for this. You pulled that trigger for this.

      So, I suggest you embrace that and do not stoop to such foolish levels. Engage the anonymous commenters. Perhaps you’ll be able to open a brand-new dialogue with them. Who knows? Your nasty remarks certainly discourage that which, in turn, does the OPPOSITE of what you are trying to do here.

  23. Frank: You bring up some good points, and I agree with you, in hindsight and considering your good thoughts, that I should not have posted my “snarky” response. I also agree in the value of healthy, robust debate. I don’t, however, agree my comment is incredibly asinine nor offensive, and certainly not oppressive nor stooping to fillish levels. I “pulled the trigger” as you say, and I am now participating in an ongoing healthy, robust debate. I greatly respect other people’s views, but have very little respect for (and get frustrated and annoyed with) people who take potshots and criticize others while hiding behind anonymity. I do appreciate your willingness to criticize my post — and stoop to a similarly foolish level as me by calling it incredibly asinine, snarky, offensive and opressive — without hiding behind anonymity. Thank you!

  24. Douglas Tinkler

    I agree, calling names is counter-productive and typically shows a lack of an intelligent argument. Saying things like “we don’t see headlines like people being clubbed to death” is not a logical counter to the “people kill people” argument – because we never see headlines that say “an unmanned gun went on a killing spree”. We do see many stories on knife and blunt object attacks. Saying the 2nd amendment needs to be changed because “it was written over 200 years ago and we had many bad laws 200 years ago” ignores all the good laws and customs we have had over this span. We need rational discussion to get to a great solution. We should think like economists not script writers.

    If ever there was a time for the country to come together it is now. We cannot rely on the media – they relish conflict. Even ESPN is all competing points of view and verbal competition. It is ridiculous. This is what the internet was made for – we can bypass the people who would divide us and find common ground and get real results.

    In order to rationally discuss any change to our laws we need to identify the task or goal that the change will help enact. Then we can discuss/debate the pluses/minuses and get a solution that accomplishes the task and is net beneficial to our county. I hope we can agree – every sane person (yes I think over 90% of gun owners are sane) wants a decrease in total violence. (not just gun related violence). Let’s agree? – Then we can move on to the question is how do accomplish this task? It is much easier to get a solution if everyone agrees there is a problem and wants it solved.

    Gun restriction is potential solution to curb overall violence – It is not a proven solution however. The debate on the cost/benefit analysis is a very hard one to win without a decrease in overall violence. Many people, myself included ( I own but don’t love my gun – I do love my fishing rod), believe there are beneficial reasons, besides protection, to own guns.

    How can gun ownership decrease overall violence? – if we outlawed all gun ownership – only criminals would own guns – a cliche – but fact – since to own a gun would make a person a criminal. If criminals owned guns (a likely case given the number of guns in the country) and knew the majority of people (law abiding) did not, there might be an increase of home invasions and murder. This possibility and other unintended consequences from a new law needs to be weighed against the benefit of the new restriction.

    In looking at the benefits of gun restrictions – It seems logical to conclude that any penalties associated with a new law against gun ownership are unlikely to curb a person’s decision to commit murder. The main benefit would be a decrease in gun supply. This would increase the price of any weapon making it more costly (dollars and risk) for criminals to obtain weapons. This should decrease the number of criminals who own weapons if a new law is enacted. This is a big positive. The decrease in the murder rate would likely be much smaller though since it may or may not significantly decrease the access to guns for people who are determined or likely to commit a gun crime. Guns would still be available if criminals have the patience and means to obtain one illegally. The decrease would likely come the number of killings from “lesser crimes gone bad.”

    I do not see a clear winner on this debate. I think the nod goes to overall decrease in violence but law abiding people who would like to own guns for protection would live in an increased state of fear.

    If we restrict assault style weapons – the main effect would be to limit criminals from obtaining legally bought assault rifles. It also MAY in fact decrease the amount of people who die in rampage killings. It is not a sure thing because some criminals will still obtain illegal weapons and others may opt for even more potent weapons or more reliable weapons (ones that do not jam). While it would be better to say 10 dead instead of 20 – that can not be our ultimate goal.

    If our only goal is stop mass killings of innocent people – a more effective law would be to ban gatherings larger than 3. Is it ridiculous – yes – not because of its effectiveness – but because it would be giving up too much to accomplish a sub-otimal goal. That is the danger of having undefined or poorly planned goals.

    Too often, in the US, we only get a brief chance to change laws. It usually involves horrific headlines. People react with their hearts and not their heads. We need to use both if want to get good laws. (Enron gave us Sarbanes Oxley – a total joke unless you are an auditor) We need to do a better job.

    We should acknowledge that there are a few (not many) benefits to assault weapons – they do provide increased personal protection in a large scale break-down of law. (some neighborhoods in Katrina). In addition if it ever became necessary for civilians to protect the country from enemies foreign or domestic – it would be better to have assault rifles. I see both as relatively small benefits since the probability of these things occurring is remote – although in my opinion higher than 30 years ago I think it would be more effective to work to calm peoples fears rather than the bullying tactics of questioning peoples intelligence or manhood.

    I doubt gun ownership is a statically relevant indicator for the determination of intelligence. The math is – 50% of the country is at or below average intelligence. If you want to prove what side of 50 you are on – use logic not misleading statistics and foolish slogans.

    I think it is winnable position to ban assault weapons. I also think it is correct decision. We should acknowledge all sides of the argument, work to quell fears (increase jail time for gun violence, react swiftly to lawless behavior) and win on the merits not on the rhetoric.

    It alone though will not get us to a great solution. If we want to stop ALL the violence we need to look for solutions that would have prevented any violence in Newtown.

    If we ignore all the random possibilities and focus on what could have prevented any violence (including killing the murderer before he killed anyone) in Newtown I see only two solutions: Something (therapy, counseling) that would have affected the murderer’s decision or that would have detained (institutionalized) him before the event. We need additional changes that make these solutions more probable.

  25. Dave, thank you for your thoughtful comments. It is helpful to have someone like you who has a lot of gun and military experience take this position. You know the power of these weapons, and thus the respect and care necessary when they are in your possession. The ultimate question is, why would an average citizen need guns that are meant for the military and to kill a large number of people quickly? I believe the answer is – they DON’T. Not now. Not EVER. Guns for hunting is another matter, which I won’t address here.

    Gun control is one piece of this complex puzzle. There are other pieces such as more support and understanding of mental illness, curbing unnecessarily violent video games. Ultimately it is access and cultural issues that must be addressed. Sandy Hook is 10 minutes from my house. I am one degree and a few miles from the killer and victims. Unfortunately I have learned details of the scene I wish I never knew. No child, parent, teacher, administrator, community should ever have to experience anything remotely similar. Those who survived are scared for life. It has been a horrific week.

    The question of gun control is when and how? How many more people need to be killed before something is done? I ask those opposed to it – what ultimately are you protecting and how many more lives need to be lost so violently and senselessly for you to reconsider?

  26. I learned something new in this debate – that some actually think that what should be legal is the same weaponry “the average soldier has” in order to “keep the playing field level.” It made me realize a big difference between sides here.

    They must not have family in law enforcement or on SWAT teams. Those of us that do, we don’t want level playing fields. We think law enforcement should have a decided advantage. That’s why SWAT carries assault rifles that are incredibly accurate and fast – so they can take out active shooters with handguns or bolt action rifles.

    The difference seems to be that some of us see law enforcement is on our side. Other seem to have this (paranoid?) view that the we have to be prepared to defend ourselves against “the authorities” someday.

    Ban assault weapons. No reason to have the same weapons made for SWAT and Military to be sold at Dicks Sporting Goods. Yes, those that try hard enough will still get them, but I have to think it would lower the incidence, the probability, that the bad guys have equal fire power to the good guys. But there again the problem: it sounds like we all differ on who the bad guys are, and who the good guys are.

    For the record, I’m a gun owner, carried a .375 H&H Mag for years in Alaska as bear protection, and just had elk liver for dinner the other night.

  27. So many familiar names from decades past and so much passsion. I hope everyone – even those opposed to radical change – will write to congress, vote their conscience,and expand this civil debate. Because – yes – our constitution has evolved, along with our interpretatation of its meaning and reach..,Where would we be if it hadn’t?
    L.P. Howell Mitchell
    “With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed. ” – Abraham Lincoln

  28. Britt Elizabeth Anderson, Class of 79

    David, I’m proud to say I am your classmate. Well written and thoughtful.

  29. The tragedy here is that Dan blindly posted Dave’s post without any regard to the OTHER issues — culture of violence, mental health treatment, the securing and monitoring of guns, etc.

    This is not a single cause issue. There are so many pieces to the puzzle and to know that Dan and Dave are hyper-focusing on this one issue, of many, is discouraging.

    • Dan has his agenda. It is his blog. The article served Dan’s purpose, and it is his right to post it.

      • Respectfully Listening

        Dave’s post gives his perspective as a gun owner, former NRA member, soldier, and citizen. His opinion is informed by the things he knows. If Dave does not have something to add about the other issues you mention does not negate the validity of his opinions. Clearly there are many serious issues that need to be addressed in this country and we have to fix each in turn. When it comes to the “OTHER” issues it will be appropriate to listen to the people who have direct experience and constructive solutions for those issues. I don’t think any of us would have the fortitude to read through a single blog entry that addressed every OTHER issue. Would you be dismissive and disdainful of your mechanic for “hyper-focusing” on the engine problem in your car and not also addressing your broken hand which is also making driving the car difficult?

        • If Dave’s opinion is not informed by the other issues, then it is incomplete and may not be well founded. Dave, like many others who have posted here, want to punish those who have done no wrong. Do you think that is a sound position?

          • Respectfully Listening

            Dave addressed one aspect of this problem. His opinion that the NRA’s position on a particular type of gun ownership is not in our best interest. I think his position is sound and should be addressed. That he does not have answers for the mental health crisis, securing and monitoring guns and gun owners, etc. does not in my mind make his thoughts about the NRA and the ownership of near military grade weapons any less sound and well reasoned.

            I believe that the circumstances today are not in any way the same as those of 1790s. The complexity of our national security and defense is not contingent upon ordinary citizens maintaining an arsenal and providing for the national defense. At that time it was expected that citizens maintain a rifle and quantities of powder and shot

            It is reasonable to limit the sale of certain types of weapons and ammunition. I don’t think this is “punishment”. We live interconnected lives in our society and don’t always get what we as individuals want. Having this category of weapon, high capacity clips, and ammunition in the hands of the citizenry does not make us safe. They are only useful for quickly killing people.

    • Accusing Dan of Hyper-Focusing on access to guns after a massacre? You would have been the person who asked Mrs. Lincoln “Other than that, how was the play?”

      • The focus is the NRA; read the headlines. Dan chose to make a partisan statement; the exchanges that followed are in keeping with that partisanship.

      • Party On, Brotha

        John McCarthy –

        You, sir, are an idiot and an embarrassment to this town. Please never run for office or become a public servant. Your blinders are on too tight. Re-examine Baby Boy’s post and consider the fact that hyper-focusing on the NRA and gun control is not only counterproductive but, in a sense, disrespectful of the victims.

        These innocent people were killed and all we hear about is NRA, gun control, NRA, gun control. Where is Dan’s post about the mental health field? Where is Dan’s post about the importance of parenting? Where is Dan’s post about the importance of gun safety and the dynamics of storing firearms?

        I suggest you all stop, take a deep breath, and look up the anarchist soccer mom’s blog. She wrote an incredible piece titled “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”

        • “Dan’s post on mental illness” is coming soon. I’ve got an important interview with someone intimately familiar with it this weekend.

        • Too late, I am on the RTM. Feel free to not vote for me in November if you live in Westport and in District 9. Name is spelled “John McCarthy.”

          I believe that calls to focus on Mental Health, parenting, video games, etc. are distractions from the real issue, which I believe is access by citizens to high powered weaponry. Feel free to disagree with me.

          • You are being emotional and hyper-sensitive, leading to misguided judgement and reactions. I pray that you reflect on this and consider all of the issues. As a Westport resident, I’m concerned that you serve on the RTM.

            Gun Control, which I am in favor of, is only one answer. It’s not the whole solution. Next, you need to address mental health. If Adam Lanza was deranged enough to massacre children, he would certainly be capable of carrying it out without guns. Ever heard of homemade explosives?

            • I don’t think anyone posting here would argue that controlling access to military grade weapons is the sole answer to mass homicide. But just because mental health and other issues contribute to the slaughter doesn’t mean that reasonable gun control shouldn’t be considered.

              • Stephen,

                You need to look at John’s comment again. He did not state that.. In fact, he stated nothing close to that. He simply said that they are “distractions,” which leads me to assume that he believes Gun Control is the ONLY answer to this massacre.

                If that is all he thinks we can take away from this, then I am petrified of how he must handle his postion on the RTM.

            • No one ever thought the RTM was made up of the best and brightest. JM’s approach is verdict first, trial later.

            • I never said mental health wasn’t an important component. if that is how you read my comments, then I apologize for not being clearer.

              Your homemade explosive example is just a silly comparison in this situation.

          • As a resident of John’s district, he always gets my vote. I agree with on some issues (Barron’s South) and disagree on others (this one and historical preservation). But at least he has guts and makes his opinions public!

        • Ah, yes, the soccer mom who publicly branded her son as a soon-to-be mass killer. What could possibly go wrong with that kind of tough love?

          • You definitely missed the point of that article. As the parent of a special needs child, with violent tendencies, I completely understand. This mother had the courage to speak up.

            It’s too bad that people like you cannot relate and, therefore, completely disregard the substance behind it.

            • I actually can relate. But I object to what she has done to her child by naming him. I notice that you only use a first name here, and haven’t publicly shamed your child by identifying him or her. Do you lack “the courage to speak up”, or do you just have more sense and empathy for your child than she does?

              • Stephen,

                It is a child from a previous marriage. It would not be my place to name him on a website.

                You noticed incorrectly. I already identified myself in the comments earlier. Go find it. My name is Frank Boten.

                • Then we agree, Frank, that it is not right to shame your disturbed child by naming him on a website.

                  • If there was not a mother to consider, I would happily name him.

                    Do you really want to go down this road, Stephen? OK. The mother has the right to do whatever she pleases. She’s fearing for her life and doesn’t know what to do. Do you have any ideas? This is plea for help, and she’s stuck.

                    This is the problem with mental health treatment. By the time he is committed to a hospital or sent to mandatory rehabilitation, it will too late. Also, your threshold for “tough love” is incredibly low.

                    Tough love used to be a spanking — now it’s identifying your child on the internet because you fear for your own life and the sanity of your other children? Okay, then…

  30. Why have we not BANNED motorvehicles yet!@?!!@!??

    http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1105.pdf

    This is an outrage and must be stopped NOW!

  31. Dave – That last paragraph alone is sufficient to merit incredible accolades for your writing. I’m very appreciative that you are including (justifiably) the irony about our gun loving, violence-prone entertainment culture and our “squeamishness” for authentic love in it’s many forms. Bravo.

  32. What a waste of space! All of you should spend your free time volunteering for a worthy cause to help Newtown, instead of huddled in your home writing over and over on this blog.

    • Says the anonymous poster huddled at home contributing to the “waste of space.”

      (You can’t make this up!)

  33. Eric Zuckerman

    Dave, all of your points are very well made and appreciated.
    Hope you and your son are well.
    All the best. Eric Z.

  34. …”the kind of weapon designed to kill people with no legitimate purpose outside of the military”. Oh, except to effectively protect oneself, ones family and/or ones people from a possible tyrannical government. There are so many people out there who can’t allow themselves to assimilate this fact. Therefore, they will always view these types of guns as a problem, rather than a potential solution. The perpetuity of their trust for our government to always act on our behalf towards our constitutional rights is delusional, madness!

    As a fact, we all KNOW that PEOPLE use guns to kill people. No one can really argue with that fact. The visions created by abolitionists are that we can clean the streets, our homes, our country of guns. Then we can save lives! How? How will we do that? There are guns, everywhere, there will be guns, everywhere. You’ve now given 100% power of people who DON’T obey the law over everyone who DOES. The gun is the means.

    We are all angry and at a loss for how to stop the violence towards innocent groups of people. This is what binds us all together and also affirms our ongoing humanity as a race overall.

    • So weekend-warrior citizens with AR-15’s purchased from Wal Mart will be able to protect themselves from the US Army, Navy, Air Force, US Marines, FBI, State Police, and local police?

      If we took Second Amendment to heart we’d move towards Switzerland’s system. But guess what, their militia is not allowed to have ammo. It will be passed out “when militia is needed.” And all ammo is tightly controlled by the government, available at gun ranges but only to be used at gun ranges.

      • Switzerland may have a militia but it does not have a second amendment; your analysis is flawed. Why is your first impluse to restrict the rights of others?

        • Repblicans and Democrats both restrict right. You don’t think that telling a woman what to do with her body is a little restrictive?

          • Let me correct the grammar. Both Republicans and Democrats restrict the rights of others. Don’t you think telling a woman what she should do with her body isn’t a little restrictive?

            • Reorge Gobbins

              Don’t you think killing an innocent fetus is a little twisted?

            • Nice try at the old two step. Show me the Amendment that specifically refers to abortion.

              • So nothing else in the universe is restrictive unless it’s restricting an Amendment to the United States Constitution?

                • No, but the abortion argument is irrelevant in this case; one right is protected in the Bil of Rights and the other is not. Why is the first response of zealots to restrict the rights of others?

                  • Here’s a scenario. A woman gets raped and Abortion is illegal so she has to have the baby. The rapist goes to court to get visitation rights as the father and wins. That gives the victim and the rapist 18 years to get to know each other. Maybe we let the woman have a little choice here? Some want to restrict a woman’s choice in ALL cases.

                    • What are you blithering about? Do you enjoy arguing with yourself? The issueis not abortion. Try and keep up.

                    • I just keep answering responses to my postings. I think I (we) got off the track by me giving an example of government restrictions. I used Abortion as an example. If I used an example about highway speeding laws, we’d be talking about I-95. I guess my point is: Laws restrict and limit freedoms.

                    • The laws to which you refer do not cover rights specifically enumerated in the US Constitution. Do you understand the difference?

                    • Yes..yes..yes I understand the difference.

  35. And my answer to the other person who asked if killing a fetus is twisted, my answer would be that it happens to be the law of the land so you should contact those who made it the law of the land.

    • Party On, Brotha

      In that case, violence and mass shootings as a result of the second amendment defense must be the “law of the land” too. Since the SCOTUS has never challenged that and it’s all obviously open to interpretation. Right?

      If the law of the land commanded you to kill your firstborn and jump off a bridge, would you?

      • The bridge jumping law would be challenged in court, if something that stupid could ever be passed in the first place.

  36. Dave, I am damn proud of you for speaking out so eloquently. This really sealed it for me, “The only people I’ve met who have such weapons seem to do it for their egos, to brag about, to feel more manly, or to “defend” themselves from a government that apparently might come after us all if we don’t have machine guns. It’s a violent and macho attitude, promoted by the NRA.” I am not going to stay silent on this.

  37. By the way, I am Bob Lyon. I grew up in Westport. I prefer to not be anonymous. I will have to go change my preferences to have my name come up on the threads.

  38. No mention of Adam Lanza in this screed. Please be advised that law-abiding American citizens are NOT the enemy.

    The NRA suggested that armed guards be placed in schools, and the Left ridiculed them as “crazy.”

    Now Obama and Biden are considering the very idea. The Left chalks that up to their “thoughtfulness,” “appreciation of nuance,” and “a willingness to consider all options.”

    Go away, white Liberals. You are beyond stupid.

    • Hi Jack – I appreciate your thoughtful input. Law abiding citizens aren’t the enemy. I am law abiding. Sometimes laws are absent, out of date or inadequate. That’s why we legislate. That’s why our constitution is amendable. If every gun is originally sold legally – how do so many fall into the hands of criminals? Someone who legally bought a gun did something illegal somewhere down the line. It is true that 10% to 15% of guns used in crimes are stolen. So, how did the other 85% to 90% get into illegal ownership and become involved in crime? With whom does the responsibility lie? Perhaps it lies on the many who bought them legally and distributed them for profit. Straw purchases are well documented. Why do we need weapons capable of mass killing anyway? People can just buy something for low “T” instead. What do you think we should do, if anything? Bob Lyon

  39. Regardless of what weapon he chose to do it with, where there is a will there is a way. Timothy Mcveigh ring a bell to any of you. Instead the real question is, how come I can look up his profile in Wiki? Yet all the heros that stopped mass shooting and saved lives, their stories are silent. How about this, instead of attacking the 2nd amendment lets go after the freedom of the press and start limiting what they can put on the public TV stations that my 3 yr old son is watching. So one day he can ask me, “dad why is the sky blue”? Not, “dad why did that guy kill so many people” and have all these twisted thoughts running through his head because we get a hard on watching this crap on TV. These people want to go down in history and they want to be glorified after they’re dead. They get the attention they wanted because of the media. Passing more gun laws will make your tummy all warm in fuzzy but will do nothing to actually solve the issue. This debate shouldn’t be about guns, it should be about the mental health of our citizens and the media for glorifying such tragic events.

    I just can’t justify spending billions attacking the guns when we could be spending billions actually putting a solution forward and solving this issue. We should be putting more money toward helping parents with kids that have mental problems. Also spending more money on research instead of throwing pills at these poor kids because no one wants to give them the time of day. Screw the guns, what hurts me more is our children are literally killing each other off (shootings, bullying, harassment, etc…). So much hate with the kids now a days it’s disgusting. I don’t know if we just don’t want to deal with it, or if the public is actually this blind to what is really going on in our society.

    So can everyone put down the egos and stop making into a political/constitution thing and focus on the real issue. Republican, Democrat… Who cares, stop always pointing the damn figures and lets work together. I don’t blame the president he’s only in office for 4-8 years. I don’t blame congress because they’re the voice of the people. I blame the people of this nation/world for letting it get this way, including myself.

    For the record I am not a gun nut, although I have owned several types of guns including many different assault rifles. I think the NRA, as with everything now a days, has gotten to powerful for it’s own good. It’s no longer a tool of education but rather an ATM and any time guns are threatened to be taken away congress makes withdraws. But what makes the NRA so bad? What is it doing wrong? Has it brained washed people into killing and shooting up schools? No. We as a society brainwashed these kids by throwing violence in front of them like as if it’s normal and appropriate to see. Everyone take that finger that’s pointing outward and turn it around. End of story.

    • We as a nation seem to be very violent. We’re in a major war every 15 years, we have 36 killings a day on average in this country. We now have mass murders on a regular basis in movie theaters, schools and shopping malls. We’re really the only western country like this. England and Australia have seemed to have solved the gun problem in their country. If I’m not mistaken, their police don’t carry guns. Try that in one of out huge cities. We’re not a pretty sight here in this country.

      • Yes and that’s what makes us unique as a country and there is a very good reason we separated from England and gave the people the right to bare arms. lol… But by all means if you feel threatened by our rights as Americans you have the right to move to England.

        • Why would anyone feel threatened in the United States? Just because we have 36 murders a day and a mass killing now every two months , one and the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere doesn’t mean anyone should feel threatened. Also, we are getting to the point whereby we will have more guns in the country than we have adults. I think that a projection that looks out three years. I see no reason to be threatened.

        • Charlie McKeon

          About your so-called “right,” Chief Justice Warren Burger had this to say:

          “If I were writing the Bill of Rights now there wouldn’t be any such thing as the Second Amendment . . . . This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

          Chief Justice Warren Burger (interview with Charlayne Hunter-Gault broadcast during the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, December 9, 1991)

          The Second Amendment, Chief Justice Warren Burger knew, is an anachronism from the colonial days of no standing army.

          Since a group of hard-core gun nuts seized control of the NRA in the infamous Cincinnati Revolt of 1977 and began a radical transformation of the organization into the propaganda and strong-arm lobbying machine it is today, the NRA has been pumping a steady stream of lies, misinformation, and half-truths into this country for so long–forty years–some people have begun to believe.

          Gun nuts believe the NRA the way communists believe Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. After the KKK and the tobacco industry it’s the worst organization in the history of America. Because of it many have died.

          All the developed countries EXCEPT the United States have low murder rates, because all the developed countries EXCEPT the United States have gun control.

          Naive men think bringing a gun into the home “protects”–but INCREASES the risk of death to everyone in the home–to them most of all (impulsive suicides), but also to their partners (suicide and homicide), their children, and their visitors. THEY–not a “home invader”–are the most likely to die from the gun in the home.

          • The Second Amendment is obsolete. The NRA is a cancer in our society. If one believes that one needs a gun to protect themselves against the governemt, I have one word for them…Drone. Go hole up at some farm with 10,000 guns and if the government wanted to take you out, it’d take one Drone.

            • Charlie McKeon

              I suppose, but the notion of defenselessness is just one of many false arguments. Not even the most far-gone gun can honestly think, for example, the fighters in Syria got their weapons through legal channels. Nor here is there a shortage of recreational drugs despite forty years of a War on Drugs with the country holding twenty-five percent of all the prisoners on earth in its jails and prisons.

              • I lived in a country where having just a bullet was an automatic life sentence in prison. Guess what? There was zero gun violence.

                • Charlie McKeon

                  Yes. That’s too draconian a policy, but there’s no doubt all the other developed countries have lower murder rates because of gun control. I think the benefit of gun control here would extend beyond the borders into Mexico and Canada. A good friend of my father’s in Canada tells me people in Canada complain all the time about the guns coming over the border from the US into Canada.

  40. There are so many contributing factors and gun regulation is certainly one of them. Nobody talks about the extreme income disparity in our country where 1% of the people control 45% of the wealth in this country. If you look at the studies by the World Health Organization the rate of violence is greater where disparity between rich and poor is greater. You flood the streets with guns, which are legally bought in the first place, we then have desperate people with guns. When assault weapons are used, it is the difference between murder and mass murder. People are intoxicated with ownership of these weapons. Many developed countries (they have strict gun laws) have video games like we do but they don’t have the guns all over the place. Look at Japan. Guns are bought legally and sold to “Bad Guys” here. Criminals acquire guns through straw purchases from legal gun owners under our current laws. The buy them at gun shows too. These guys are making big money selling these weapons illegally. So are the gun manufacturers. This needs to stop immediately. Less than 10% of illegal guns used in crimes are stolen. Many people who bought guns legally are responsible for this, without a doubt. Register all of them, re-register them annually, have them inspected annually and track them through titles and bills of sales much like an automobile. If motor vehicle can do this, we can do this. It’s really not too much to ask for someone who wants to own a lethal weapon. A two time drunk driver losses his driver’s license, maybe he/she should lose their right privilege of owning a firearm. Alcoholism is an illness too. Weapons in the hands of drunk people result in accidents, domestic homicides and such Gun owners need to take responsibility for their rights. So many don’t have regular healthcare in out country, much less mental healthcare but we don’t want to offer universal health coverage like the other less violent developed nations. Instead of lifting people up, we buy guns to protect ourselves from them. I also think the violent culture is something to look at. Everybody wants to watch shoot em’ up TV shows and movies. I don’t watch any of them. A CDC database is a really good idea because we can collect real factual data about a problem that is of epidemic proportion. I don’t want to take guns away from responsible owners. I just want to preserve their right by making things safer. The NRA should be leading this effort. They should also be getting votes from their members on these issues, being a membership organization. Assault weapons should not be aloud in our general population. I respect that these have been purchased legally but for the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would want one. Yes, multi faceted solutions for multi faceted problem. We are good enough to do this. In the end, I think it makes economic sense too. Bob Lyon

  41. Charlie McKeon

    I would stick that seal of the NRA with the universal symbol for NO over top of it in the rear window of my car. If there is such a thing, please tell me.