Printed letters, April 27, 2012

Jim Ciha, in his letter to the editor April 18, rightfully suggested we supporters of the Second Amendment put forth better arguments for gun ownership. He cites the thousands of gun deaths versus lives saved and he appears to have a point. But he doesn’t go far enough with the comparison.

Every year, many gun owners owe their lives and those of their loved ones to their weapons and their courage to use them against criminal threats of death or bodily harm.

Yes, guns, like knives, clubs, axes and frying pans, are at hand in many domestic fatalities, too. There are accidental gunshot fatalities and lawful deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Their are hunting deaths, too. At best, these deaths might number in the low hundreds. However, every year many thousands of innocent and not-so-innocent people die at the hands of criminals who illegally possess guns.

All states and the federal government have gun laws they cannot enforce against these criminals. It’s just too overwhelming, too big of a task. A much easier target is gun ownership by lawful citizens and to this end Obama and the liberal Democratic establishment has dedicated itself.

The national media often headline stories of gun deaths and call for the destruction of the Second Amendment. Rarely do the media headline the private citizen who defends his home or others with his legally owned weapon and call for an armed citizenry.

In all cases where guns were removed from private hands (Australia, for example) crimes against persons and property skyrocketed. In places where lawful citizens are well armed, crime goes down.

The National Rifle Association will supply anyone with accurate, unbiased, verifiable statistics of these events. The NRA will also provide information to correct the lies, false statistics, spins and other propaganda put out by the anti-gun advocates.

I encourage all decent citizens to join the NRA, buy a handgun, take classes in gun safety and use and the laws relating to gun ownership. Would you rather trust your government to protect you against harm?

TOM STREFF

Grand Junction

Heritage Bill undermines long-standing protections

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sportsman Heritage Bill. Sounds like a great thing for all us hunters and anglers out there, right?

Read it in its entirety and spend an hour or so Googling the actual meaning of the text. While some portions do benefit the hunting and angling communities, certain parts open the door to wholesale undermining of long-standing protections that have benefited those same sportsmen for decades.

Section 104(e) (1) in the bill could open wilderness areas to motorized vehicles, helicopters, road building and any other tool that is used for hunting or fishing. This would undermine world-class hunting destinations such as the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho, and Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness right here in Colorado.

Section 104(e) (2) could allow industrial development of wilderness areas. Activities such as logging and oil and gas drilling are inappropriate for our nation’s wilderness areas. Also, there are problems with language under 104(1) (b) and 104(1) (c) that would prohibit adequate NEPA review of management decisions. It would actually result in less hunting opportunity.

In reality, expanding wilderness protection for public lands enhances hunting and fishing and our economy and quality of life. Unfortunately, today only 5 percent of Colorado is designated wilderness. And only 2.5 percent of the lower 48 is protected as wilderness. Although off-highway vehicle (and other) groups constantly oppose wilderness protection on access grounds, only 8 percent of the national forest acreage in Colorado lies beyond one mile of a road (only 4 percent for BLM lands).

The hunting and fishing heritage and the ability to feed our families that we currently enjoy should not be taken for granted. Don’t let covert assaults on that heritage destroy it, despite sympathetic sounding names.

BOB SHETTEL

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Redstone

 

Conservation is critical for we who live in a desert

It seems like it was just the other day (1977) that I sat in on emergency discussions between the three water districts on how to deal with Mesa County’s severe water shortage.

Back then, we were turning off lights, carpooling, limiting toilet flushes and conserving irrigation water with impetus from the newly created Grand Junction Energy Office. Rachel Carlson’s “Silent Spring” was still a fairly recent best seller, and environmental activism was striking a chord.

Now here we are, more than 30 years later, watering the heck out of our lawns, taking long showers and tossing half-filled water bottles — once again forgetting that we live in a desert.

Thank you, Greg Trainor, for reminding us of this very precious and endangered resource, and that we all have a role to play in protecting it.

PAULA MASSA ANDERSON

Grand Junction



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