Townhall: Do we need stricter gun laws?

Townhall is a new feature in the opinion section that offers readers the opportunity to respond to a pressing question on campus, in the community, in Washington or across the globe. This week’s Townhall asks whether or not we need stricter gun laws. Representing the “Yes” argument in favor of stricter gun control is Tim Bledsoe, who also makes an argument about the Obamacare legislation passed by Congress in 2010. Opposing Bledsoe is Murray resident and non-student Michael Skaggs, who argues against gun control with the “No” argument.



I am writing to say that Republicans and some very conservative Democrats are on the wrong side of gun control and “Obamacare”.

First, I know everyone has heard about the tragic killing of the grade school children and the adults in Connecticut. Even though the killer had two hand guns, I believe that he used the AR-15 assault rifle to do most of the killing. If I am not mistaken, these assault rifles were banned for 10 years up until the mid 2000s. Now, most Republicans and very conservative Democrats seem to be just fine with the current laws.

I ask you, why does anyone, outside of the armed forces, need an assault rifle of this killing capacity? The public who wants these rifles say they like to target practice and hunt with these rifles. There are hand guns and other kinds of rifles that can do these same things! Again, why allow assault rifles to be owned by the public? I say these kinds of rifles should not be allowed!

Second, I believe the Republicans and very conservative Democrats need to study “Obamacare” much, much more. I believe conservatives are supposed to be against “the free giveaway programs like Medicaid.” I have heard the President say himself that all but the very poor citizens, will have to be on some kind of health insurance and or pay the government some money to buy insurance from the government! I ask you, isn’t this a way to eliminate some of the current “giveaway” of Medicaid?

I personally know families that had ALL of their children using Medicaid. These families pay a net of no income taxes and get a large sum of money back by using the child tax credit and the earned income credit! Wouldn’t Obamacare get rid of some of this outrageous government give away ?

I ask you, please ponder these two subjects to see how you really, really feel about these controversial issues!

Written by Tim Bledsoe, non-student from North Augusta, S.C.



 As a life member of the National Rifle Association, I’d like to comment on various parts of your gun control editorial of Jan. 18, beginning with the statement, “Yes, one might argue the shooter didn’t buy the weapons used in the crime.”

We can say that because that’s what happened! He stole the guns, just like almost all criminals. They don’t go to gun shows. The comment said in effect, “Yes, he stole the guns, however, let’s not use fact or logic.”

“Sandy Hook is not an isolated incident.” According to one criminologist, Grant Duwe, of Minnesota’s Department of Corrections, the evidence shows that the high point for mass killings in the United States was 1929, mass killings have declined 40 percent since 2000, the chances of getting killed in a mass shooting are the same as being hit by lightning, and until Sandy Hook, the three worst K-12 school shootings were in either Britain or Germany, countries with strong or total gun control.

“Sandy Hook. Aurora. Columbine. Hazard. Heath.” The roll call of fatal shootings have one thing in common. They were all gun free zones! Muzzle loaders could have been used to the same effect. The murderers deliberately went there knowing his tarfets would be unarmed and wouldn’t stand a chance.

The Aurora murderer had seven theaters within 20 minutes of his home. He didn’t select the largest or the closest. He selected the only one where firearms were banned. There were 200 people in that theater. Since 4 percent of Colorado adults have gun permits, that means there could have been 8 armed people who could have stopped him that night.

Except for Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since 1950 in the United States where three or more people were killed took place where guns were banned.

“We feel the (assault weapons) ban is a common sense measure.” The assault weapons ban was allowed to expire in 2004 because it had no effect on the crime rate. Other forms of “commonsense measures” in other states include Massachusetts, where you have to have a Firearms Identification Card to buy or carry pepper spray and Rhode Island, where on the gun application you have to list all of the tattoos you have (I am not making that one up!).

“Bullied by the NRA … with billions and billions of dollars.” You believe in a constitutional amendment and you’re a bully? If you vote, does that make you a vote bully? Also, I would love to see the finance records you have on that last claim.

“Obama has been the best president on gun ownership rights.” As a state senator and U.S. senator President Obama supported or voted for restrictions on gun shows, banning hunting rifle ammunition, local handgun bans, waiting periods, limited gun buys, banning right to carry laws and a ban on all gun stores within five miles of a school or park.

Is there a another President?Obama that I don’t know about?

“The language of the Second Amendment is needlessly complex and vague.” “The right to bare arms shall not be infringed.” How on earth is that complex and vague?

“What defines a well regulated militia?” It’s already been defined by federal law. According to the Second Milita Act of 1792, the militia is every male between the ages of 18 and 45. In other words, if you fit in that requirement and, like in the movies, there’s a giant, post-apocalyptic nightmare, don’t make any plans. Uncle Sam will still want you.

Last, but not least, you protest against guns and violence, and then you give “Django Unchained” four and a half stars? Can you say double standard?

I’ll close with a statement made by a gun store owner in a recent television interview.

“I would be glad to stop selling the AKs, the ARs, and the large capacity magazines. They make up only 10 percent of my business. I would be glad to stop selling them if I knew that would be the end of it, that the gun controllers would stop. But they’ll still continue, and they will not stop until every gun I have is banned and taken.”

Written by Michael Skaggs, non-student from Murray, Ky.