I support stricter laws regarding possession of firearms, and considerably more strict for misuse of firearms. Frankly, I am heavily armed myself, and served my three-year hitch in the Army like most guys my age, so I am pretty familiar with the handling of weapons. However, unlike the NRA crowd,I believe that our Constitution is a living document, and that the basic Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms should be restricted to the type of arms which were known to the framers of the Constitution, and should not apply to modern weaponry. Possession of a firearm is a privilege; it is not an absolute right. The further one gets from weapons which were in existence in the 1700s, the more government regulation should be applied to possessing such inherently dangerous devices.
My firearms are for home defense, not the counter-revolution. I store them in a way that my grandchildren cannot access them. I don't believe in hunting (doesn't seem too sporting), but don't criticize those who do. I think that anyone wearing a pistol in an "open-carry" mode (I saw a guy doing that at the supermarket not too long ago) is probably suffering from a very low testosterone level and is trying to make up for it. I believe that if a person purposely shoots another, not in self-defense, capital punishment should be automatic, regardless of the outcome. I believe that all firearms should be registered, and that possession of an unregistered firearm should carry a stiff, fixed, prison sentence, as should the negligent misuse of a firearm.
I'm not worried that a dictatorship will take over this country and that the government will come and take away my guns. I am more worried that some moron will shoot me, my family, or one of my friends at a shopping center and then assert an insanity defense. Other countries, Great Britain comes to mind, have very strict firearms controls in place, and do not descend into chaos or dictatorship because of them. They're just a little more civilized than we are.
-- Eric Nordlof, Kennewick
Use guns wisely
In a recent split decision the U.S. Supreme Court stated, despite previous opinions, that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to be armed regardless of service in a militia. The author of that amendment, James Madison, explained the need for state militias, and opposed a federal monopoly on firearms. I couldn't find anything he said outside of the amendment text about an individual right. The original text submitted to Congress included an exemption from military service for religious beliefs in opposition to such service. Those words were deleted by Congress.
I would conclude that Madison believed it appropriate for the several states to regulate firearms in the interest of public safety. It is almost impossible to read a newspaper without finding a story about a tragic consequence of gun misuse or carelessness. All guns should be licensed and license holders should be qualified. Safety features should be required. Guns should not be allowed everywhere.
-- Barry Jacobson, Kennewick
Room for change
Our Founding Fathers were very perceptive in that they knew it was a changing world and there was a need for the change in the foundation of the country, amendments to the Constitution. However, they were not too perceptive as to recognize the need to retire an amendment when it is no longer needed.
-- Don and Clyda Jones, Richland
Enforce laws we have
Illegal aliens can't have a gun. Felons can't have guns. But they have them because another law is not going to stop them. Murder is a crime with a death penalty. What is the penalty for crime with a gun? Five years by the federal government. Then give them the five years for having the gun. Don't keep pussy footing around and give them the time, crime or no crime.
Don't take my guns away as I am an honest upstanding old man and can't fight off these young punks anymore. God help anyone who believes in the Constitution of the United States if Obama gets back in as we will be a socialist country in two years or less. We already owe communist China more than we can pay back in years. God bless America!
-- Orman Arnold, Richland
The Bill of Rights guarantees several personal freedoms. If people feel the need to busy themselves by making more gun laws then have at it, as long as it doesn't infringe on the Second Amendment. Likewise, have them make more laws on the freedom of press, as long as it doesn't infringe on the First Amendment.
-- VincentRundhaug, Kennewick
More laws not solution
One only need look at some of the nation's largest cities (New York, Chicago, etc.) to see that more anti-gun laws are not the solution to the violence problem.
There are already enough gun laws on the books, but the problem is, they are not enforced uniformly, and they're often the first thing that's plea bargained away when a bad guy is facing prosecution.
Our governor finally has seen the light and has promised to enforce the gun laws currently on the books. She recently had a press conference where she announced she was teaming up with several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to prosecute gun crimes in the federal court system.
Gee, it's only taken two highly publicized mass murders in Seattle coffee shops and countless other homicides across the state to get her to recognize there's a problem here.
My question to her would be, "Why did it take you so long to recognize the problem?"
-- Mike Lauman, Pasco