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By Harry F. Hambrick, Jr.
It is a mistake to advocate for gun control through attempts to convince gun supporters that some of the various proposals for gun control are so limited that they are reasonable restrictions. The National Rifle Association and many individual gun-rights supporters have long had a first-step or slippery-slope attitude. There is no gun control proposal, however limited, that they will ever regard as reasonable.
Limited gun control is said by pollsters to be a slight majority position in terms of absolute numbers of Americans. But limited gun control, much less truly effective gun control, is now and will continue to be for some time a minority position in the context of our representative democracy.
Hambrick is a lawyer. He lives in Roanoke.
By Richard Evans
The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the sale of handguns to anyone under the age of 18, criminals, drug addicts and the mentally ill. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 was passed 12 years after the 1981 assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan that seriously wounded his press secretary, James Brady.
The Brady Act created a national background check system to prevent firearms sales to the “prohibited persons” included in the Gun Control Act of 1968. Most of these checks are completed at the time of the sale of a weapon. Alternatively, if a denial of the sale is not received by the dealer within three days, it may be legally completed at that time. That certainly isn’t much of an inconvenience for a legitimate gun purchaser to endure.
Evans lives in Roanoke and is the owner of Housing Associates.
Veterans care in Salem, the Senate gun vote, and views on the EPA and the Older Americans Act in today’s letters to the editor.
As a young Virginian woman, I find it shocking that elected officials are trying to make my medical decisions and set health regulations that challenge my access to health care.
Many of the clinics that are in jeopardy of closing due to recently approved regulations for abortion providers provide more services than just abortions. Many women use these clinics to get affordable birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
If these clinics close, Virginia will see a rise in preventable diseases, illegal abortions and unintended pregnancies. These restrictions could lead our state to suffer much greater consequences in the future.
An NBC Election Night exit poll in November found 63 percent of Virginia voters believe abortion should remain legal in some or all cases. As a woman, I would like to remain in charge of making my own health decisions because no one will be concerned about my health like I will.
Gun control, library parking and weather forecasters in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
The other day, I attended the funeral of a friend in Roanoke. The funeral procession went by Crossroads Mall on Hershberger Road.
When the procession had to stop, people were yelling at everyone to move. At one point a man in a car with his family blew his horn and pointed to go across the street. What does that tell his children in the car with him?
People coming off Interstate 581 were determined to cut in, even at the risk of taking the rear end off one car and the front end off the other.
People might say, “I didn’t know it was a funeral.” Really? Why would a line of cars with bright lights and flashers be coming your way? And then, if you have pushed your way in the procession and the light turns red, you stop!
It is so sad that there are people in such a hurry they cannot wait for a funeral procession to pass by. There is no respect for the deceased or their families.
If people cannot wait 10 minutes to get moving again, they should leave 30 minutes early to get where they are going. One day, it will be their loved one in the hearse, and they will appreciate the respect of passersby.
PATRICIA M. SKEENS
By Michael Abraham
A couple of months ago, my family took a dream vacation to New Zealand, for my money the most appealing nation on Earth. The air is pristine, the water is clean, the vistas are amazing and the people are generous and friendly.
We arrived in New Zealand shortly after the Newtown, Conn., shooting tragedy, and many people we met wanted to talk about it, even more so when they learned of our close ties to Virginia Tech. I spoke at length with two policemen and one hunter.
New Zealand gun laws are amazingly sane:
Abraham is a businessman and writer in Blacksburg.
This week, people gathered at Virginia Tech to remember the young men and women and their courageous professors who were slain six years ago.
Students at New River Community College returned to classes, but their thoughts were with a classmate and a college employee still recovering from gunshot wounds inflicted just days ago.
The public knows little about Neil Allan MacInnis, age 18, and nothing of what led him to court on Monday, facing charges of opening fire and wounding two women at the New River Community College satellite in Christiansburg.
A family spokesman said the people closest to him are “in the process of trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.”
Their nightmare is personal, as it is for the victims of Friday’s shootings and their loved ones. But the helpless, hand-wringing horror following an inexplicable attack by a gunman on people going about their daily lives — that has become a public nightmare grown too common.
So common that a growing portion of Americans, including most gun owners, find it intolerable and favor finding some legal strategy to contain the violence. Yet even as the Senate, shamed by parents of the children of Newtown, nears a vote on expanded background checks for gun sales, lawmakers remain divided over what policy change to make — or, indeed, whether to change anything.
Caring for wounded warriors, Republican influences and guns in today’s letters to the editor.
Since most gun charges seem to be dropped in plea bargains, why do we need more laws?
The new laws seem to be made by people who know nothing about the shooters and collectors of this land. Millions of rounds are shot a year with no harm to anyone.
We shoot for fun and to increase our knowledge about the firearms we collect, also to improve our skills for matches and hunting. Our quest for the perfect load is endless and uses lots of bullets, primers and powder. Collectors trade among themselves just to get something new, sometimes making several trades in one visit.
Don’t pass laws that are made to get broken. Come talk to us, the real shooters, collectors and hunters who will be hurt. Also, no one is thinking of the collectors who one day will have to use their collections for a big part of their retirement. Under proposed laws, they will lose a lot of money or even whole collections.
Again, come talk to the people who will be hurt by the laws. Remember, murder is against the law – but does that ever stop anyone?
WILLIAM A. BELL
By Kathleen Parker
The biggest obstacle to the Obama administration’s push for tighter gun control may be its own best argument: Newtown.
This is because nothing proposed in the gun control debates would have prevented the mass killing of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and everybody knows it. At best, tighter gun laws will make us feel better.
Let’s review: The Newtown killer was a mentally disturbed young man living with his mother. She had legally purchased her arsenal and had even taught her son how to responsibly handle firearms.
What she did not do was: (1) deal appropriately with her son’s mental illness; (2) safely contain her guns so that her son could not access them.
As much as anyone, I am eager to do whatever will make a difference. But I’m unconvinced that what is being proposed will provide the solution we seek.
Parker is a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.