America needs leadership on gun-violence issue
by our readers
Jan 21, 2013 | 2480 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Every time there is a mass killing in the greatest country on earth, it makes me sick at heart because I feel so sad for the victims and their families. The Newtown, Conn., massacre was particularly horrifying because most of the victims were small children attending school and most of the rest were their teachers, who gave up their lives courageously trying to defend these innocent children.

I recently called Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions and Rep. Mike Rogers to ask why they were not providing leadership on the gun-violence issue. Their spokespeople said they felt bad for the victims but supported the Second Amendment right of private citizens to bear arms. I replied that I, too, supported this right, which I interpret to mean the right to own handguns for self-protection and hunting rifles for sport. I asked why private citizens should be allowed to own semi-automatic assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and why purchases of firearms at gun shows are not subject to background checks.

I noted that I actually support National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre’s idea of having armed, trained law-enforcement personnel in schools because I think that would be a deterrent to mass killings, just as, in my opinion, the outlawing of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would be a deterrent. Nothing can be guaranteed to stop mass killings, but there are definite things that reasonable people in a free society can do to deter them.

The spokespersons for Shelby, Sessions and Rogers listened and assured me that they would pass my concerns on to these officials. I know these gentlemen to be honest, hardworking public servants who are willing to consider thoughtful solutions to important public issues.

If we’re going to continue to call ourselves the greatest country on earth, we’re going to have to discuss our concerns and differences with open minds, mutual respect and a determination to improve public safety by enacting just and reasonable laws.

Rufus Kinney
Jacksonville
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