Printed letters, July 16, 2013

In recent weeks Grand Mesa Middle School was the staging area for the Rocky Mountain Mobilization Center. Our objective was to pre-position wildland fire crews and engines so that they could respond rapidly to a wildfire event.

We are thankful to Grand Mesa Middle School for opening its doors and allowing us to set up camp on school grounds.

We are also in awe over the amount of community support we received during our time here. Individuals and businesses donated food, books, stationery and many other useful items and services, all of which made the stay here pleasant and memorable.

Each firefighter from the mobilization center left with a positive impression of a community that made us feel incredibly welcomed and supported.

JOHN FITCHNER

Mobilization Center Manager,

Northwest Colorado

Incident Management Team

Grand Junction

Ammunition limit does not
 impair Second Amendment

As Thursday’s editorial (“Colorado gun battle has moved to court”) implies, the core legal question presented by the county sheriffs’ lawsuit is whether Colorado’s newly-effective gun laws in any way infringe on the Second Amendment. If not, the lowest level of legal scrutiny requires only a “rational basis” for constitutionality.

 In Heller, our Supreme Court held that denial of the individual right to “keep and bear” handguns for self-defense was unconstitutional, but reaffirmed that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and does not preclude prohibitions on the possession of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

 Moreover, while the Second Amendment protects at least some citizens’ right to “keep and bear” at least some kinds of firearms (at least for self-defense), it is entirely silent as to both the acquisition and design of “arms” and as to quantities of ammunition – perhaps because our founders had no knowledge of any firearms capable of discharging more than one round without cumbersome reloading.

Therefore, because both background checks and bans on machine guns and “cop killer” bullets have already been deemed constitutional, our courts should conclude that neither expanded background checks nor a 15-round magazine capacity limit violates the Second Amendment.

Consequently, Colorado’s new gun laws need only further a “legitimate governmental interest”— even if only marginally ameliorating a legislatively perceived threat to public safety and/or to law enforcement officers (as with machine guns and “cop killer” bullets) — and need not “have any substantial effect on preventing future mass-murder attacks.”

Indeed, such attacks may not be preventable at all – since clearly demented individuals arguably enabled by our culture of gun violence perpetrate most of them.  Each such attack, however, refocuses lawmakers’ attention on the broader implications and effects of that pervasive gun culture and affords an occasion to proactively counter them.

BILL HUGENBERG

Grand Junction

 

Voice opinions on motorized access at next meeting

A review of the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area Draft Resource Management Plan reveals another assault on motorized access by the BLM in western Colorado. Preferred Alternative E proposes closing 53 percent of current motorized access that is allowed in the area today. Alternative C proposes closing a whopping 83 percent.

I was hopeful we would not see the attack on legal motorized access in this DRMP, since we had an area advisory council appointed.

After conversations with two advisory council members, it’s very apparent they were not told during advisory council meetings how many miles of routes were to be proposed for closure. It’s important for the public to show up to the remaining public comment meetings and let the advisory council and BLM know how you feel.

The next Dominguez Escalante DRMP Advisory Council meeting runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Math and Science Center.

BRANDON SIEGFRIED

Grand Junction

 

It’s time to do away with
sophomoric ‘Doonesbury’ strip

I know you have heard this before, probably frequently, but I feel compelled to continue the argument: Why is “Doonesbury” still presented on the comics page?

Call me old-fashioned, but I can remember when the comics page was reserved for humorous and entertaining, light-hearted slices of life to which we could all relate.

Instead, we are subjected to sophomoric, sarcastic, one-sided political views that would make you wonder if they aren’t prepared by some unemployed slacker in his pajamas writing from his grandmother’s basement.

It’s easy to vilify a political point of view when there is no opposing opinion offered. You could run cartoons of President Obama to be fair and balanced. There are quite a few every day on the Internet.

In short, let’s bury “Doonesbury.”

JACK HOUSEMAN

Grand Junction

 

Colorado should examine how

other states fund their schools

 

Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Legislature tout Senate Bill 213, the Future School Finance Act, and the ballot measure to raise taxes for schools as a national model.

A lot of other states use their lottery, Powerball and Mega Millions earnings for schools, instead of giving it to rich people so they can still keep their property and continue to make a profit off it. That benefits a few while the many might have their taxes raised.

 

Maybe the state of Colorado could learn a lesson from these other states.

 

TOM GAHAGAN

Grand Junction



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