Letter: The Forum’s out-of-touch gun editorial

Gun Rights

Some years back The Forum had a flurry of pro-life/pro-choice letters to the editor. To avoid running out of room on the op-ed page, The Forum eventually installed the wise policy that letters themed around abortion (both pro and anti) would not be published unless something original was offered.

It’s too bad I have a better memory than the Forum’s Editorial Board for that policy. The Forum’s June 11th editorial, ”

It’s time to bring sanity to our nation’s gun laws

,” would not have been published. This editorial was a regurgitated shopping list of “common sense” gun law proposals bantered across the nation in every progressive newspaper.

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The National Rifle Association sees the reality. A minority in the United States wants no guns in the hands of civilians, and their unshared agenda is to regulate them into nonexistence. “Death by a thousand cuts” is kind in comparison to what awaits gun owners. The anti’s approach is akin to “if you can’t get the whole salami, take it by slices.”

Did The Forum know 95% of gun homicides are with hand guns? Hunting rifles, shot guns, and – yes – “assault rifles” account for the remaining 5%. But the media demonizes the assault rifle and, quite simply, they don’t know what the heck they are talking about.

Why can’t they point out how several states won’t allow the standard .223 cartridge for big game hunting? Not enough down-range energy and more apt to wound.

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Does The Forum know the classic red plaid Elmer Fudd deer hunter’s .30-30 has considerable more power than this mythical “assault rifle”? And for those who like facts, the reason is the .30-30 bullet has three times the weight of a .223’s.

Rather than jumping on the “common sense” gun law band wagon, I will wager school/mass shootings are a witch’s brew of guns, video games, violent movies and television, mental health breakdowns, drug use, broken families, plummeting organized religious affiliation, media celebrity coverage and consumerism replacing community.

Unquestionably, gun ownership criteria must be tightened, but guns are the low-hanging fruit. Unless the whole problem is addressed our nation has put out cheap window dressing.

Mull over this fact: Most criminologists agree the first U.S. modern day mass shooting was in 1966. Charles Whitman, after stabbing his mother and wife to death, climbed to the top of the University of Texas at Austin bell tower and shot 13 people to death and wounded 31 more. His autopsy revealed a pecan-sized brain tumor, and his craziness is only more common.

Does The Forum know until 1934 you could buy a brand-spanking new auto ordinance Thompson submachine gun for $200, delivered to your door with no background check, no paperwork and no restrictions? (Side note: In 1934, you could feed a family for half a year for the same dollars.) And until 1968, you could buy a rifle, shotgun or handgun via mail? No hassle, just send money or try cash on delivery.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s mail order Italian Carcano rifle used to kill President John F. Kennedy proved gun availability was historically easier, but why are mass shootings a recent and growing phenomenon?

Isn’t the more important question why does our country increasingly grind out mostly young males who specialize in killing strangers for nonstop media attention? Isn’t that a bigger problem than guns?

If you truly believe “common sense” gun laws will help, here’s a story to give you hope:

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About a month ago I found a Daisy BB gun, like the one I had 60 years ago totally restored and for sale in Ohio. When making the deal, the seller asked where I was from, and I replied “North Dakota. Does it make a difference? His reply, “Yes, some locales have laws requiring BB guns be sent to a federal firearms license dealer with the mandated FBI background check.” I said, “Would that be New York City?,” and he said, “Yes, that is one of the cities.”

This exchange is a good example of a blue state’s “common sense” gun law coming our way.

My first reaction is to laugh, but the power of government regulating a $15.95 (1965 retail) piece of plastic and metal stampings should make nation’s founder James Madison sit up in his grave. At the very least it’s insulting.

Yet, I understand why a single mother living in Chicago’s south side projects sees no earthly purpose for a gun in civilian’s hands. But I see no reason for abortions on demand up to the day of natural delivery.

The American I love is big enough to allow differences and good leadership encourages respect and tolerance. Given time and using a tried-and-true political process, common ground will be found.

My sincere hope is the inevitable gun laws will be passed without resorting to executive orders, Supreme Court packing or a simple majority U.S. Senate vote. Millions of law-abiding American citizens have the potential to become felons with the stroke of a pen. Be careful, progressives. Any partisan shortcut or cramdown will tear this country apart. Not a threat, just a fact.

Mike Martin lives in Enderlin, N.D.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum’s editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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