The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 13, 2014

No more 'ho hum' on guns


The Daily Item

— They say it takes all kinds of people to make the world go around. I say no, we just have them. The “them” are people like those who are obsessed with safety by: mandating helmets, seat belts, banning drop-side baby cribs and outlawing scalding coffee, while ignoring the 32,000 people killed by guns each year. Some say, if another country was killing off their people at the rate we would likely intervene.

It seems the gun advocates can’t do simple math. They want no deaths from terrorism, spending $649 billion on homeland security and accepting the many restrictions on personal freedom. But, reject any curbs on guns that have killed 364,000 Americans since 9/11. The Guardian.com reported, the number of Americans killed in all wars since 1775 (239 years) is 1.17 million, according to government statistics. The number of Americans killed by firearms, including suicides, since 1986 (28 years) is 1.38 million. Many countries now caution their citizens against travel to America as an unsafe country.

The pro-gun crowd who control Congress don’t seem to recognize the lunacy of its position. I suspect it’s related to their lack of doing what’s best for the country. Only 86 of the 435 members of Congress and 17 of the 100 Senators are veterans. They have never worn their county’s uniform and learned how to put country first, ahead of self and self-centered ideologies like political parties and the N.R.A.

The solution is not to restrict legal gun ownership and, of course we need background checks to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and the mental deficient.

However, let’s dwell on illegal gun use. When a gun is used in committing a crime the punishment for that crime should be tripled or quadrupled and the increased fines be used to build more jails for offenders. Also, possession of an illegal gun must result in severe punishment and fines.

We have got to stop slapping wrists and apply real punishment that will make a would-be perpetrator think twice before using, possessing or selling an illegal gun.

Carlyle W. Westlund,

Middleburg