I've been living in the Northeast too long. And, I don't mean places like far upstate New York, wooded Maine or the Northeast Kingdom, where guns and hunting are a part of life and culture. Because of my surroundings, I rarely hear people talking about the role of guns in our lives, unless there's a tragic accident...or a nearly regular urban homicide.
I grew up in a place (Western Pennsylvania) where hunting was huge - some school districts even have the day off for the start of buck season (right) -but there was never a sense of the kind of "gun culture" that was the focus of our show today.
The recent police shootings in Pittsburgh, by a disturbed and heavily armed man who thought the Obama administration was coming for his weapons, was the backdrop of our discussion about the state of the gun debate in Connecticut. We heard from spokesmen from organizations that want to limit, and want to expand gun ownership - and state senators on opposite sides of the legislative battle over firearms. Our conversation was bolstered by this Sunday's Courant editorial about a recent state law to limit gun sales to children.
We got several calls from listeners who wanted to draw some middle ground, between what they saw as "extremist" points of view. We also got some emails:
Jon Young from New Haven wrote: Let's not forget, while discussing whether right-wing militias pose any threat to our nation, that it wasn't so long ago (1995) that two militia sympathizers blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing many people, including children. This was probably the most significant act of domestic terrorism in the twentieth century. Since then, the very real threat of international terrorism has tended to eclipse the existence of such threats from within the United States. But right-wing domestic terrorism is not just a hypothetical possibility. It has happened. Of course, not every pro-gun activist is a terrorist or insurrectionist--they are, of course, a very small minority. But loose talk about violent acts against the state can have deadly results, especially when combined with easy access to explosives and/or assault weapons.
Others were not as...well, kind to the pro-gun lobby.
But then we got this from listener Gary Alton (edited slightly for length):
1. History teaches US that Gun Control has been proven to be the gateway to tyranny (www.JPFO.org)
2. We need to destroy our US rights to combat the evil men in Mexico's drug cartels doing wrong? Wrong. Cartels have TONS of cash available to buy the most deadly weapons available anywhere in the world...They DO Not buy their weapons from the avg gun shop or gun dealer. Have you seen the machine guns, grenades, grenade launchers in the media pictures, and TV news that they are catching these thugs with? They are American made, but are bought on the black market. Full Auto machine guns available ONLY to the military and law enforcement world wide is what the criminals opt for.
3. Assault weapons are more dangerous...? The term "assault weapon" was specifically chosen by a freedom hating- anti-gun propaganda master by the name of Josh Sugarman. He admits in his book that he chose that term because it invoked fear in the unknowing public.
4.Gun control is NOT about protcting innocent lives, but about inching towards complete disarmament of the people. Great gun control advocate Chuck Schumer D-NY was quoted as saying: "we will regulate guns into oblivion" to a crowd of anti-gun proponets at a Brady fund raiser.
5. Militia's/ gun owners can might pose a threat and try to overthrow the government. NEVER HAPPEN. The second amendment protects US in theory from a tyrannical government with the veiled threat/ assumption that all good citizens would unite to fight the tyranny all at once. The likely hood of that is ZERO chance in my opinion. With the automatics, grenades, heavy equipment, and trained men the military has, 100 soldiers could easily destroy 10 thousand civilains "with an attitude". That will not happen (civilians fighting and overthrowing the government) No way!
And finally, he asks this question of our guest, Senator Martin Looney: That he reconsider his attack on our Constitutional rights and learn exactly what the anti-gun crowd is up to. It sure isn't protecting US from violence. That myth has been proven wrong. The more gun control we have, the more violent crime we have. Criminals do not wait for us to dial 911, or wait for the police to be on hand.
A central question I wanted an answer to was put to both Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation
and Republican Senator John Kissel: Why is it alright to legislate against some people having guns (because of age, criminal background or mental stability) but it's not alright to legislate against anyone owning certain kinds of weapons (like the assault weapon brandished by the Pittsburgh shooter). I'm not sure I got an answer, other than to cite the 2nd amendment freedom to bear arms.
Finally, Jenifer Clark emailed us this question about our conversation regarding state law: Did Senator Kissel just argue for less gun control because of the need to protect gun-manufacturing jobs in Connecticut? I certainly hope not.
That was his argument, Jenifer...near as I could tell.
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