Printed letters, March 8, 2013

I haven’t heard a single good argument from gun advocates as to why ordinary citizens need assault weapons or high-magazine clips. One of their arguments is that many law-abiding citizens have these weapons and ammo, they use them responsibly and they should not have their weapons taken away.

This is not a good argument because these weapons too often fall into the hands of people who mean to do harm. Even law-abiding citizens go ballistic, as we have seen in recent mass shootings.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., offered another lame defense of these weapons at a recent gun hearing in Washington, when he claimed that most gun violence is caused by handguns and not by assault weapons and that therefore it wouldn’t make much sense to ban them.

Well, duh. There are way more handguns than assault weapons. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ban assault weapons.

The assault weapon is the weapon of choice for these mass shootings, and it has the ability to cause mass carnage in one single usage. If one is able to fire off 20 to 30 rounds of ammo without having to reload, one causes much more damage than a handgun with six to 10 rounds.

I’m amazed at how Republicans and the gun nuts support putting really bad things out in world, such as assault weapons. Then, once the cat is out of the bag, they argue, “Well, since there are so many assault weapons out there now, it’s a waste of time to try and ban all of them or even to stop making them.”

No, it’s not a waste of time. It just takes the will to do so.

JIM CIHA

Grand Junction

Proposed gun legislation
would be costly, unfair

As a local federally licensed gun dealer, I’m dismayed by the seven proposals before the state Legislature in the current gun debate in Denver. First, not one would have done anything to prevent or reduce any violent act in Colorado or elsewhere.

Secondly, as reported in The Daily Sentinel’s March 5 edition, the voting is strictly being cast along party lines. Shouldn’t our elected officials vote according to the wishes of their constituents instead of how their party “orders” them to vote?

Two of the legislative proposals would financially hurt my customers and me. The first is Senate Bill 196, which could hold my business liable for selling an “assault weapon” used in some future crime.

I make sure not one weapon leaves my premises unless the purchaser passes a background check by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and is found to be legally able to own that firearm. Why should my business be held liable for something that could happen several years after a firearm legally leaves my store?

The wording is also too vague as to what an “assault weapon” is, and it includes many hunting and sporting weapons.

The next cause for concern is House Bill 1228. Legislators want me to start charging for the above-mentioned check every time a firearm leaves my business.

Their logic is that if people can buy a gun, they can pay another $10 for this check. That may or may not be true when purchasing a firearm, but consider this: I am a pawnbroker. If someone gets a loan from me on a firearm that he or she legally owns, that individual must pass the background check to get the weapon back when redeeming the loan.

What the bill would do is basically double a person’s expense to get a weapon back if he or she borrows $100 for 30 days. Does doubling the cost to those who can least afford it make any sense?

Short-sighted, knee-jerk reactions rarely prove beneficial.

BRIAN LANGFITT

Grand Junction

 

BLM land use plan is 
outrageous, expensive

In recent years, hundreds of miles of roads have been closed on U.S. Forest and BLM lands in Western Colorado. Now the BLM seems to be on a mission to close most of the remaining unimproved roads. The local BLM office has spent four years and millions of dollars developing its new Resource Management Plan.

To this point, BLM environmentalists have developed the plan with little public participation or input. The BLM’s preferred alternative would close motorized access to two-thirds (2,100 miles) of the remaining roads.

The plan does not identify any problem that needs to be solved or give any good reason or justification for the proposed closures.

If this plan goes into effect, access to hunting, fishing, camping and other recreational uses will be severely limited. Local businesses related to these activities will also be adversely impacted.

Millions more tax dollars will be needed for signs, gates, locks and barricades required to close the roads. How many more rangers will BLM need to hire to patrol and enforce all of the road closures?

Now is our only chance to stop this outrageous plan. The deadline for public comment on BLM’s Resource Management Plan is April 25.

DON NEWTON

Grand Junction



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