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Guns, guns, guns
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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.   


guns, guns, guns

"Guns, Guns, Guns" was the title of a song by Candian rock group The Guess Who on their 1972 LP, "Rockin.'"

To echo someone else's comment above (briefly):  the term "assault weapon," as is commonly used today, does not refer to actual assault weapons.  The weapons described in current parlance are semi-automatic rifles which fire once for each pull of the trigger.  The weapons used by actual assault teams (e. g., SWAT teams, the SEALS, the Secret Service, etc.) are fully automatic sub-machine guns which fire continuously when the trigger is depressed.  Uzis and MP5s are examples.  You can see Uzis underneath the jackets of the Secret Service agents in the Reagan assassination attempt pictures, and the MP5 is what was pointed at Elian Gonzales and his uncle when a U. S. Government agent removed Elian in the spring of 2000.  No assasult team commander would allow his team to be limited by semi-automatic weapons.  By the way, semi-automatic rifles have been in existence for more thaen 100 years, and I have been using them for hunting for more than fifty years.  One more thing:  assault weapons are low-powered; the reason is that the recoil pulls the barrell up and off the target as the trigger is held down and the rifle continues to fire.  For that reason, low-powered ammunition is used, and the mechanism typically limits the continuous fire to 3 shots (sometimes 5).  A high-powered rifle by definition cannot be an assault weapon.

To respond to another comment:  an armed populace could not possibly stand up to a modern army?  Sorry, I disagree.  The Afghan mujahedin faced down the Soviet Army from 1979-1988, and the Iraqis gave the United States Army a great deal of difficulty from 2001 to the present.  These are only two of many examples.  A civilian guerilla movement can, indeed, hobble a large, modern professional army, and that has been the case at least since our own Revolution more than 200 years ago.

Great program, great station, and great work.  Keep it up.  Best regards, John





First I would like to say that all the people that disagree with guns...fine.That is their choice, but do not keep me from owning a weapon because you don't like them. The old saying is Guns don't kill people, people kill people. I own firearms and no one is going to take them away from me. I have a child around the firearms but we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that our child knows that guns are not toys and they are put up when not being used or cleaned. It is a responsibility to own a gun and if you are not able to accept that responsibility then you shouldn't be able to. There are some wacko's out there that do get ahold of a gun and go beserk but don't blame the law abiding citizen that has never done anything wrong because of a couple of bad apples. You don't hear about the money that goes into the state preservation fund from the ammo and firearms, and all the hunting, fishing, and camping equiptment that is bought. I think people need to do their research and to open their eyes a little more...don't be so jaded to something you don't understand.