Your Turn, Aug.16: Gun owners want commonsense gun reforms.

Gun Rights

During my service in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, one of my daily duties was to pick up trash in our area, carrying it the short distance to a large burn pit near our tents. After dumping off the trash, I would usually set it on fire and stand around talking with others while the fire grew and spewed out its smoke and fumes. I suppose we had grown used to it because, after all, the tents we were living in were just a short walk away, and we breathed the stuff regularly. I did this daily.

Years later, I now find myself afflicted with a rare bladder cancer that is not genetic, nobody in my family has had anything like this, and also is not attributed to things we normally think of as causing cancer such as tobacco use. When I ask doctors where this might have come from, they ask me if I ever “worked around toxic chemicals?”

The PACT Act includes 12 cancers now considered toxic exposure presumptive conditions, but not my bladder cancer. What does this bill do for me and other veterans like me? The answer appears to be nothing. Or worse, by establishing a causal relationship with regard to the 12 cancers that are listed, does this imply that other cancers not listed are not causally related? If that is the case, then this bill is a giant knife in our backs, hardly the sort of “help” that shows America’s commitment to our nation’s veterans.

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If this bill was being hailed as a partial victory in a long battle that is not yet over, that would be one thing. But hailing it as the solution to the burn pit problem is inaccurate and does a tremendous injustice to those veterans for whom the bill seems to represent nothing but abandonment by the Nation we served and for which, apparently, are soon going to be giving our lives.

William R. Rodis

Right on guns

Re: “This Republican, NRA gun owner has had enough,” Another View, Wednesday:

Thank you, Bernie Phillip, for putting your name and face on record supporting responsible gun owners and opposing the current laws allowing irresponsible gun owners to destroy the fabric of our country. You are 100 percent correct.

Marjorie Dishron

Sensible gun laws needed

My congratulations to Bernie Phillip for his guest commentary on assault weapons. His guest column is the first rational statement not screamed from either extreme of the gun discussions. I agree with every point.

I was a combat infantryman in past hostilities. I shot and killed a human being with an assault rifle. I was shot and wounded by an assault rifle. The only reason for assault rifles is to kill another human being.

I was a member and strong supporter of the National Rifle Association for decades: a competitive rifle shooter through high school, college, and in the U.S. Army. The NRA sponsored many local, regional, and national rifle competitions. But at some point, the NRA train jumped the tracks and took a lot of good Americans with it.

Hoorah! to Mr. Phillip. Let’s push for reasonable gun laws.

Harry C. Stevenson

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