Sounding off: Require military service for weapons

Gun Rights

In the early 1980s, I purchased a 12-gauge shotgun at Sears in the Westmoreland Mall, and I walked through the mall to carry it out to my car. Unthinkable today, as society’s views on weapons have changed in the last decades.

In reflecting on those changing societal views, I think commonsense regulation of weapons has to be considered. The Second Amendment states: “a well-regulated militia,” which would imply some sort of military training and discipline being required to own weapons.

My suggestion is that if a citizen wishes to own a military-style semiautomatic weapon not legal for hunting, then that citizen should show proof of military service and an honorable discharge.

I remember my basic training sergeants being adamant concerning training on M-16s, impressing respect for the capability of the weapon and responsibility for the operator of that style of gun.

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This suggestion would, in my opinion, reinforce the “militia” provision of the Second Amendment and provide official, standardized training to any 18-year-old who wishes to own a military-style weapon.

Having the requirement of an honorable discharge may even foster a sense of camaraderie and respect among those able to purchase military-style semiautomatic guns.

At the very least, we would know that those gun owners had formal and serious training on the use and abuse of these weapons, instead of any fool with cash in hand, and an emotional problem in his mind, buying an AR-15 over the counter.

Thomas Nacey Jr., Salem


Bible really ought to be banned, too

This letter comes in response to Megan Tomasic’s article “Hempfield school board to continue discussion of books available to high school students” on the board’s discussions of requests to ban certain books as inappropriate, too sensitive, too sexual for high school students. I posit that the board would have to consider the Bible as such a book.

The Bible is mistakenly considered appropriate not just for high school students but also for much younger children in school, church or home. But consider these episodes in the Bible: Lot offers both his virgin daughters to a crowd to be raped. Lot impregnates both his daughters. Amnon rapes his sister Tamar. A Levite gives his concubine wife to a crowd to be raped all night. When she is returned badly injured, the Levite cuts her body into 12 pieces and spreads them around the coasts of Israel. A drunken, naked Noah is seen by his son. But the innocent son is punished for seeing Noah naked. Prophets prophesy in the nude.

David commits adultery and murder. David cuts off 200 penis foreskins as war trophies. Jephthah burns his virgin daughter at the stake in thanksgiving for victory in battle. Virgins are to be taken as sexual prisoners in wars. Enemy wives are to be raped and/or killed, as are children in womb or out. To protect themselves, Abraham and Isaac lie, claim their wives are their sisters, allow their wives to be taken as concubines. Solomon has 700 wives, 300 concubines. The song of Solomon speaks of lust for naked women with large breasts.

Bruce Braden, Carmel, Ind.

The writer is a Mt. Pleasant native.


Enough is enough — we need action on guns

Gun violence is now the leading cause of death in children (“Gunfire taking toll on children,” June 1).

On May 24, 19 children were massacred in school — where we expect kids to be safe and cared for.

Enough!

We deserve to live in communities that are safe and secure, where all can thrive and prosper. Until this epidemic of gun violence ends, the American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are lost to senseless killings.

The time has come when thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action.

Tell Congress that we have seen enough. We must ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunitions, reinstate universal background checks, enact red flag laws, close gun show loopholes and hold the gun industry and NRA accountable.

Let’s band together to address the root causes of violence. Eliminate poverty and promote acceptance, kindness, equity and diversity. Enhance mental health care. Demand government investment in helping our communities thrive. Restore our ability to live in a safe society where we can shop, worship and attend school and gatherings without fearing for our lives.

Join Voice of Westmoreland on the nationwide day of action, June 11. Rally Against Gun Violence at 6:30 p.m. at St. Clair Park, Greensburg.

Diana Steck, North Huntingdon

The writer is covid equity/ ARPA team lead for Voice of Westmoreland.


Casey’s abortion flip-flop may cost him

Like father, like son? Maybe not any longer.

Bob Casey Sr., a Democrat and governor of Pennsylvania from 1987-95, was an avid Catholic and strong voice for issues involving children’s health and well-being. He was an anti-abortion advocate and was successful in getting abortion-control legislation enacted in Pennsylvania. He was sued by Planned Parenthood, but the law was upheld by the Supreme Court, with but a single exception dealing with parental consent. At the 1992 Democratic National Convention, he was denied the opportunity to present a minority plank on his anti-abortion views to the gathering.

Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat and senator representing Pennsylvania since 2006, is also an avid Catholic, and like his father, had a reputation as a strong advocate for issues related to children. Early in his political career, he was known to be a minority yet strong pro-life voice among party Democrats. But after his first decade as a senator, his position on abortion appears to have undergone a significant change.

Most recently, Casey toed the party line and voted “yes” on a procedural vote to move an extreme pro-abortion bill to the Senate for adoption. The law went well beyond the provisions of Roe v. Wade and reportedly permitted abortion up to near the time of birth. His vote likely leaves Senate Democrats with a single anti-abortion voice, that of West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. Will the senator’s apparent flip-flop on abortion affect his standing with his Pennsylvania constituency? Time will tell. Casey is up for reelection in 2024.

Ken Mowl, Derry


Senate needs to address the big problems

Matthew A. King’s letter calling out Sen. Bob Casey for his vote in favor of allowing continued mink farming in the U.S. (”Casey’s mink vote appalling”) raises interesting issues. We have serious problems in our country with rampant inflation; out-of-control fuel prices; unchecked illegals, many smuggling Fentanyl; increased crime; and major international threats based on our weak and seemingly impaired president and ineffective vice president. Yet the U.S. Senate wastes time on mink farming?

Casey was challenged for supporting mink farming, which indeed may be cruel, but he needs to be called out for his recent cowardly vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, despite claiming to be pro-life.

Our country has vapid and dysfunctional leadership in both the executive and legislative branches in D.C. that ignores major problems, focusing instead on issues such as mink farming. In November, Pennsylvania could become a national laughingstock by compounding D.C.’s ineptitude if we elect John Fetterman, whose main focus is on legalizing marijuana, and Summer Lee, a Bernie Sanders’ socialist. We are stuck with President Biden and Casey until 2024, when both need to be replaced, but we desperately need more problem solvers in D.C. now and certainly not more problem creators like Fetterman and Lee.

Joseph P. Fey, Murrysville


Arming our schools

After the horrific Uvalde school shooting, Americans demand radical reform.

The letter “Solution to school shootings” said, “Make every school a hard target with one entrance with an armed guard and a metal detector; keep all other doors locked. Protect a school like a Tiffany jewelry store. Allow teachers with training to carry concealed pistols. Problem solved.”

That’s tactically unsophisticated, albeit well-intentioned. Can pistol-packing educators withstand an AR-15 shooting hundreds of rounds per minute?

Of course not. Instead, both teachers and students should form a combat infantry platoon. Each classroom should feature grenade launch capability as well as fully automatic rifle fire. The Constitution guarantees elementary students’ Second Amendment rights, not to mention corresponding force deployment duties.

This also solves a problem not anticipated in the letter: Who guards the guardians? The kid wearing the Pinkalicious T-shirt, that’s who! When every class can reenact the final scene from “Reservoir Dogs,” there’ll be no threats from within.

In case of perimeter breach, battalion HQ — sorry, the principal’s office — should be able to call in air support if needed, coordinate fire suppression, launch a counterattack, and mop up.

With luck, none of this should interfere with standardized testing.

Eugene V. Torisky Jr., Latrobe


Honestly, how’s Biden doing?

How’s President Biden doing?

This is the question Americans should be honestly asking themselves.

I’ve recently read letters blasting Republicans and President Trump (who hasn’t been in office for 17 months). Trump’s policies benefited Americans. Under Biden’s watch, we had a disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal with 13 servicemen dead, record high drugs and illegals crossing our southern border, higher numbers of crime and murders occurring in mostly Democratic-­led cities, highest inflation rate in 40 years on general goods, gas and food, and an unresolved baby formula crisis.

Biden seems to assume no responsibility for any of these issues. He is the president, isn’t he? It’s time to truthfully evaluate his performance.

In the November midterms and 2024 election, we’ll see how well Biden has done.

Honestly, he’s not looking good.

Gerry Dillon, Fairfield

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