EDITORIAL: Lawmakers must find the courage to enact reasonable lethal weapon limits

Restricting some weapons will increase public safety. That’s reality.

BY THE AURORA SENTINEL

America is halfway to hell.

Recent data shows that about half of all American households now have some kind of gun there with them. Just hours after the world was inundated with news of Aurora’s July 20 movie massacre, a surge of Americans decided this is a better time than ever to join the arms race here in the United States. It’s a foolproof recipe for disaster.

Now, more than ever, it’s time for our local and national elected leaders to show the same bravery that Aurora residents did in protecting themselves and others from the crazed gunman that ended the lives of 12 innocent people at the Century Aurora 16 theater, and terrorized hundreds more.

We know that there are horrible things that people do to each other in countries where guns are tightly controlled. But we are not fooled by the arguments of rabid gun-rights activists that the U.S. Constitution prohibits some restrictions to guns created for the easy and rapid annihilation of human beings, or that Americans would not be safer if some restrictions were enacted.

Restricting some weapons will increase public safety. That’s reality.

But reality and gun control don’t mix in this country. That’s because of the National Rifle Association and similar, rabid, gun-rights groups. Rather than offer reason, these groups thrive on power drawn from a domineering marketing campaign based on fear, lies and propaganda.

Because even the country’s more reasonable lawmakers cower in fear of the wrath of the NRA, nothing ever gets done to provide for substantive gun control.

That’s the case right now. While a group of brave Democrats, including Colorado congressmen Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette are talking about restrictions only of weapons of mass human destruction, politicians like President Barack Obama and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper drag out old, tired arguments about using “existing” gun laws to make America safer.

Clearly, that didn’t work for Aurora.

First, wiser Americans must understand what the Second Amendment is. The authors of the Constitution never intended to ensure that Americans could carry rapid-fire machine guns anywhere they damned well pleased. At the birth of the country, when state militias were essentially the only law enforcement and rousable army available, it was clear that keeping them armed was important to local and national security. Depriving men of weapons could mean that an unarmed militia — needing to fight off a group of bandits or European invaders — presented a grave danger for all Americans. That’s what just about every historical account illustrates.

The amendment was horrifically short sighted. No one mulling over that right would recognize guns in the United States today. Unlike gun rights, which were not clearly defined, rights pertaining to free speech, a speedy trial, a free press and most others rights might have been stretched or re-shaped, but they remain identifiable.

Second, no one in their right mind believes the government can or should grab all the guns. What reasonable Americans are saying is that it’s too easy for deranged people to obtain and carry insanely lethal weapons, and that the government can and should do something about it. We’re asking that new, enforceable limits be created to make all of us safer.

It won’t be a simple solution, and finding it will require unseen courage from lawmakers. But this, now more than ever, is the time to push past bullies and work toward pulling the country back from the edge of hell.

  • http://twitter.com/jennyds Jenny Davies-Schley

    Amen, brother – you said it all.

  • jtayl

    Most of the existing gun laws,including ‘guns banned on this
    property’ signs didn’t exist 10/20 yrs.ago.Yet Mass murders
    still happened.Anybody remember Richard Speck back in the
    1960’s killed 12 student nurses with a knife! That was a shocker.Yet I don’t recall cries for laws banning those deadly
    knives. Machine guns are restricted to have. Holmes didn’t
    have one. the weapons he used were no more deadly than    the weapons Charles Whitman used in Austin Texas in 1966.  When one is the victim of a crime murder,robbery,assault you don’t call for or want the weapon (gun,fist.lead pipe)thrown in jail forever. You want the person punished. Though to you Americans owning guns is a “recipe for disaster” yet outside of Holmes and gangs eliminating competitors the vast majority of us who own guns never go out and kill innocents. And if for a moment we thought about exacting ‘revenge’ for some slight our healthy brains would quickly reject such a foolish idea.           

    • Gofastgo

      Speck lived out his homosexual life in prison and even had a breast augmentation surgery to boot.   Check it out, it’s true. 

      If Colorado and other states wth the death penalty want them to be a deterrent, give them one year after sentencing for an appeal, if upheld, 48 hours later you will be hanged on the Capitol steps with any others convicted and sentenced for the same capitol crimes.  Now there’s your deterrent.  Not languishing on ‘death row’ for 35 or 40 years spending tax payer money (appeals with tax payer attorneys) at a clip that would make Madoff proud.

  • jeff

    You claim that the second amendment is short sighted, and that it was only intended for keeping a military available, yet you ignore statements made by the people who drafted it that it was also intended to be the final check on tyrants taking control of our country. That is why it says ‘ shall not be infringed’

  • imahead

    Could not disagree more.  Cigarettes are illegal for kids under 18, yet they smoke?  making something illegal doesn’t make anyone safer.

  • RK

    I think this is a very reasonable argument. No reasonable person needs to own an assault weapon. Enough said. Will lawmakers make a stand for the people they have been elected to serve? I am very skeptical they will choose to do the right thing. The only thing at stake is public safety, innocent lives. If nothing else, please make it difficult to buy assault weapons. I fear that our elected officials are as cowardly as the shooter at the theater is….

    • Gofastgo

      I agree…..partly.  The problem with politicians is that they cannot form a bill or piece of legislation without cluttering it up with page after page of writing no one can decifer and when the times comes, lawyers come in and twist and bend the true meanings to fit their needs.  What caliber?  How many rounds? Are shotguns included? (2nd amendment) Handguns? Rifles?

      It’s tougher than you and I think to write new laws (which they have had in Chicago land for years now and the criminals still kill one another and the innocents who get in their way) regarding automatic weapons, too vague, too many weapons fall into any category they write, it just doesn’t work for America.

    • Frank2525

      RK, Just what do you classify as “assualt weapon”? That is not defined in dictionary, but both words are defined, but separately. Every pistol, rifle, or shotgun I ever saw or know of, is an assualt weapon (whether against one person, or a crowd). Rifles, shotguns, and pistols were tools on the farm I grew up on in Ohio, and my relatives in WV had them too. We hunted, target shot, and killed varmints on farm. Even stray dogs that endandered our stock or poultry. And when we buchered beef or hogs in fall. But also could be used against criminals who wandered the land. Holmes used .223 which is a varmint round. But military versions put out many bullets whether semi-auto, or auto. So just designating “assualt weapon or rifle, is careless language.

  • tr7fan

    even john mccain says more laws are not going to help stop people like this guy . he had no prior record of violence
    how do setup a system to protect against that

    • Gofastgo

      LIving within our constitution you don’t.  I never want to see them (*govt.) take away our guns, societies that can’t protect themselves will soon be slaves to government.

  • tr7fan

    so all you genuises here tell me how im supposed to protect myself against people like this holmes guy if i dont have as much as he had 

  • tr7fan

    welll i guess at 57 ive seeen a few things in the country
    when i was a kid it was the government shooting unarmed students with weapons of war in 1970 at kent state in ohi0
    i heard about it and i felt alot like i do about aroura. i was a sophomore in high school. i was just plain scared . thinking wow they could do that anywhere including here where i go to school. crazy stuff like this and rep giffords never happened.
    so we have senator giffords get shot by a guy that mostly like psycho and they claim they have to medicate him so hes not so dangerous and might possiblity come back out of the abyss hes in enough to try him for the murders he did .
    then a year later this happens . i think he should get the death penality. if he does its an automatic appeal. here in az, people can sit on death row for 20 years or more. some may die of natural causes while waiting for another trial or appeal.
    no matter what u do youre never going to completley eradicate
    stuff like this.
    when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

    • Gofastgo

      ONCE AGAIN, COLORADO DOESN’T KILL ANYONE ANY LONGER.

      Our ‘death penalty’, if enforced, you betcha’ this guy should burn, but in our state, they languish now in Sterling Correctional Facility, where Dunlap and the others can get their ‘fair share’ of sunshine, oh yes, that’s a fact.

    • rushbuttpimple

      Then when you complain, they kick you out of school to make you draft eligible.

  • theQ

    IRRELEVANT….THE CITIZENS OF SWITZERLAND ARE ALL REQUIRED TO HAVE GUNS..AND IT HAS THE LOWEST CRIME RATE IN THE WORLD….SO SHUT UP.

    • uranidiot

      all 12 of them?

  • Yanéltšipák

    Why does it matter?

    The UN gun ban treaty/law is on our federal legislative’s door step and is about to be passed, by the way; which will be the first stepping stone on eliminating the second amendment.

  • crosspatch

    “Lethal weapons” were already banned from that theater.  Not a single patron apparently had a weapon which could have been used to defend the rest of the crowd against this maniac.  Overall in the US, violent crimes are down to a level not seen since the 1960’s.  Only in places with strict gun control where criminals can be sure the public they prey on is unarmed do we see high rates of violent crimes involving firearms.   The idea that “no reasonable person needs to own assault weapons” is absurd.  That assumes one must allow someone else decide what is “reasonable”.  The reason for bearing arms is that in a system of checks and balances, is the ultimate check on government over reach.  It is designed so that the politicians fear an armed population.  It is absolutely the most important of our constitutional liberties, according to President George Washington.  It isn’t for self defense, it isn’t for hunting.

    The point here is, though, had concealed weapons been allowed in that theater, maybe we wouldn’t be talking now about 12 dead.  Maybe we wouldn’t be talking about ANY dead.

  • crosspatch

    Oh, hey, I know!  Outlaw murder!

  • Gofastgo

    During the time of prohibition of assault weapons there was no significant fall in gun deaths.  Apparently assault weapons don’t have a significant part in the deaths.  I was against the them from the start, but it would seem, according to statistics, that they are not the factor in gun deaths many think they are.

    Evil people murder.  They do it with their hands, knives, clubs, autos, and yes, guns.  I don’t believe taking away the right of the people to protect themselves is the answer.  Gun laws persist across this country and the death rate, or just gun-related crimes stay on a even keel.

    The latest crime, albeit horrid, is just an example of unexplained mental illness, not curable in my estimation, not a reason to go off on some knee-jerk reaction to what we all know was terrible.

  • Libercontrarian

    The editors at the Aurora Sentinel are displaying the maturity and forethought of a 12-year-old child. “More gun laws will work… somehow… next time.” They can’t explain, mechanically, HOW the adoption of new laws would prevent evil people from doing whatever they want – so they suggest it anyway.

    Truly, that’s the thinking process of a child. Or, if they are truly adults, then it’s the thinking process of an idiot. 

    Perhaps their real agenda is much more devious – perhaps they are progressivists who recognize that the only way to give Marxism to the masses is to force-feed it; since it’s much easier to do this without fire coming back at them, then they’d better come and collect all the guns from the sheep willing to give them up without a fight.

    I’m not sure which is worse, or a likelier explanation of the truth – is the editorial staff collectively immature, or stupid, or simply promoters of tyranny? Which is it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Algernon-Moncrief/100001214311568 Algernon Moncrief

    PROOF THAT COLORADO’S GOVERNMENT LIES: COLORADO
    PERA’S ATTEMPT TO TAKE CONTRACTED RETIREE BENEFITS.

    When I was young I held the belief that public
    service in the United States is honorable, that the United States of America
    was exceptional in the world, that governments in the United States, while
    flawed, deserved the respect of citizens.

    Now that I am old, I see that I was naive . . . that
    governmental entities in the United States will intentionally deceive to
    achieve their goals, and that over two centuries our soldiers have died for a
    country that will countenance, and even celebrate, base behavior on the part of
    its public sector instrumentalities.  It
    saddens me, but if this state of affairs persists in the United States . . . Honor
    is dead.

    Some background . . .

    You may know that an entity of Colorado state
    government, Colorado PERA, is attempting to breach its public pension contracts
    with its retirees.  Colorado PERA is
    attempting a retroactive taking, a “clawback” of accrued, fully-vested pension
    benefits that were earned by retired PERA members over decades.

    Colorado PERA public pension benefits include a
    “base benefit” that is set at retirement and a “COLA benefit” that adjusts
    pensions annually to compensate for inflation. 
    The “base benefit” and the “COLA benefit” are set forth in Colorado
    statutes with identical force of law and legal status.

    In its attempt to breach retiree contracts Colorado
    PERA has created a contrivance.  The
    contrivance that Colorado PERA is using is that somehow the “base benefit” is a
    contractual obligation, but the “COLA benefit” is not a contractual obligation,
    in spite of the fact that both pension benefits are set forth in law in an
    identical manner.  What this boils down
    to is attempted, unabashed, theft by government.

    Whether or not Colorado PERA’s attempt to take
    fully-vested public pension benefits from PERA retirees is ultimately
    successful in the courts, one fact has been incontrovertibly established . . . Colorado
    PERA, as an instrumentality of the State of Colorado, is an organization that
    will lie to achieve its policy goals.

    This is a sad fact for the many employees of
    Colorado PERA, for the trustees that have served on the Colorado PERA Board of
    Trustees over 80 years, and for the thousands of PERA members and retirees.

    And now, the proof of the deceit . . .

     

    Colorado PERA has told us, in writing, that the PERA
    COLA benefit IS a contractual obligation of PERA . . . and then, after
    initiating their attempt to breach contracts, Colorado PERA has told us, in
    writing, that the PERA COLA benefit IS NOT a contractual obligation of PERA.  Both of these statements cannot be true.

    Colorado PERA in a written document, to the Colorado
    General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee on December 16, 2009 states that the
    PERA COLA benefit IS a contractual obligation of PERA:

    “The General Assembly cannot decrease the COLA
    (absent actuarial necessity) because it is part of the contractual obligations
    that accrue under a pension plan protected under the Colorado Constitution
    Article II, Section 11 and the United States Constitution Article 1, Section 10
    for vested contractual rights.”

    Link:

    http://www.kentlambert.com/Files/PERA_JBC_Hearing_Responses-12-16-2009_Final.pdf

    Colorado PERA on page 23 of its May 6, 2011 “Reply
    Brief” in the pension case Justus v. State states that the PERA COLA benefit IS
    NOT a contractual obligation of PERA:

    “Plaintiffs seek to create a contract right that has
    never existed—an unchangeable COLA for life triggered (inconsistently) by
    either the date of their retirement or ‘full vesting.’”

    Link:

    http://saveperacola.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/2011-05-06-pera-defendants_-reply-in-support-of-summary-judgment.pdf

    That is simply unbelievable.

    In one document PERA writes
    “the contract right has never existed.”  In the other they write that the COLA benefit
    is a contractual obligation protected under the Colorado and US constitutions.

    When PERA writes that they need
    “actuarial necessity” to take the COLA benefit, they are not denying
    that it is a contractual obligation, in fact, it is an admission of the
    contractual nature of the COLA benefit.

    For further information regarding Colorado PERA’s
    attempt to take fully-vested pension benefits from retirees visit
    saveperacola.com or Friend Save Pera Cola on Facebook.

  • Vaunfiedler

    I believe it is a panic response to claim the NRA is a rabid organization. If you support gun limits or regulations do so on its own merrits. My personal belief is that we would be safer if it were legislated that everyone 18 to 60, who has not been convicted of a felony, or found to be mentally unstable, be required to receive training in the use of handguns and to carry.

FindIt!