September 27, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Follow the money
I am very weary of the articles on guns and gun violence because no one talks about the key issue: the dollars that companies in the United States earn by selling weapons and ammunition. [“Obama pushes gun control at Navy Yard memorial,” News, September 23.]
President Obama asked recently why other countries such as Canada and Australia were able to stop gun violence by simply passing a law.
Why, because those countries do not, by and large, sell weapons and ammunition to other countries.
The dollars that are earned from domestic and overseas sales of weapons and ammunition are at the core of the issue of gun violence that all of us wish to understand and stop.
Gail Hongladarom, Seattle
September 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM
Take a stand
Howard Schultz needs to take a stand one way or the other. [“Starbucks’ gun policy: Please don’t bring them,” page one, Sept. 19.]
You can’t please everyone. Schultz needs to decide: Are guns in or out at his stores?
Starbucks is a gathering place for many families and friends, many with children. Would he rather let a child be scared in his store by the sight of guns? Is he worried he might take too much heat from those who wants guns?
Angie Clevenger, Seattle
September 23, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Gun-free zones are dangerous
The establishment of gun-free zones on public property has invited demented individuals to transform them into killing grounds in order to massacre their defenseless occupants.
One must conclude that those areas attract hopeful killers for that very reason. The locations of the last three mass shootings, Fort Hood, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the Navy Yard, are all gun-free zones.
In the case of the military bases, Congress, in its inimitable wisdom, has embedded in federal law the prohibition against the possession of guns or other dangerous weapons on all federal facilities — 18 USC 930.
In so doing, Congress has rendered inhabitants of federal properties bereft of their Constitutional right to defend themselves; this legislative fiat has produced 26 fatalities at Fort Hood and the Navy Yard.
The victims were defenseless and unable to oppose the killers as a direct result of Congress’s ill-considered legislation.
The notion that military personnel, professionally trained in the use of weapons, can be entrusted with those weapons to kill the enemy overseas but not to defend themselves here at home is patently ridiculous. Congress should take immediate action to exempt military bases from 18 USC 930.
Moreover, governments at every level should stop creating gun-free zones and eliminate the ones they now have, lest those who ignore the “gun free” caveat visit their deadly intentions on yet more innocent victims.
Local, state and federal governments must recognize that, in their zeal to protect their citizens, they are accomplishing precisely the opposite.
Richard Porter, Langley
September 21, 2013 at 6:57 AM
While I was in a public library the other day, I observed an individual entering the library with a firearm on his hip.
I asked the librarian about this, and she replied that state law allows firearms to be carried in all public places, including public libraries.
The libraries are full of young children. Their parents should be aware of what they are exposed to. I used to think of the library as a place of calm, a refuge from the craziness of the outside world. Not anymore.
Ross Allen, Tumwater
September 19, 2013 at 7:25 AM
Sadly not stunned
I was struck by the headline in Tuesday’s paper that described our capital as “stunned” by the mass shooting at the Navy Yard, since being stunned usually implies that one does not expect something to have happened. [“Killing spree stuns nation’s capital,” page one, Sept. 17.]
We are the nation that could not pass the most sensible and barest of gun-safety regulations in the wake of the senseless massacre of a classroom of 6-year-olds at Christmastime. We are the nation that saw an uptick in the purchase of arms after that tragedy.
We are a nation that does not have adequate support for the mentally ill and their families.
We are the nation with the highest rate of gun violence by far in the developed world.
So, after each needless shooting death or injury of child, bystander or bus driver, each gun murder, each firearm-laced gang fight, each suicide by shooting, and now, with our flags at half mast yet again, I feel many things.
I feel anger. I feel deep sorrow. I feel fear, frustration, resignation, and even despair.
But I never feel stunned.
Michelle McClure, Bainbridge Island
September 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Shooter should have been prosecuted earlier
In 2004, Aaron Alexis, the D.C. shooter, fired off his gun in Seattle in a fit of anger. [“D.C. killer shot out tires here in 2004,” page one, Sept. 17.]
For some strange and negligent reason, he was not prosecuted. In 2010, he “accidentally” fired a gun in his apartment in Texas. His right to own firearms was not taken away, apparently.
Yesterday, he killed and wounded many people. This is a predictable outcome. We cannot allow people who have extreme anger issues, who have demonstrated their inability to safely handle firearms, to continue to possess them.
We have the D.C. victims’ blood on our hands. Shame.
Pete Rogerson, Seattle
September 11, 2013 at 6:23 PM
Second Amendment is outdated
Initiative 594 has made me think about the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association (NRA), which may be unmatched in fervor, focus and funding. [“Some signature-gatherers play both sides of gun campaign,” NW Thursday, Aug. 15.]
Why did the Second Amendment come into existence?
The Constitution sought first to deal with a debt crisis resulting from the Revolution. The Continental Congress borrowed a lot of money to pay for the war. There was no standing army. Washington won the war, but he had to depend on armed civilian militias and borrowed money.
The Continental Congress denied Washington’s pleas for an army. Sam Adams believed that a permanent standing army was “forever dangerous to civil liberties.”
Many founders agreed with Adams, and they penned the Second Amendment into the Constitution, ensuring that citizens, not a permanent standing army, would bear arms.
Today, the U.S. has the largest army ever assembled. It also has a militia — the National Guard. The Second Amendment is now as anachronistic as those laws that permitted slavery. Both are national embarrassments.
The Second Amendment has succeeded in making the worship of guns a form of idolatry. Guns are not gods. They are tools designed to turn animals into carcasses and human beings in corpses, and it is time to become more selective about who we allow to buy them.
C.F. Baumgartner, Mercer Island
August 21, 2013 at 7:26 AM
Mayor should be out
Mayor Mike McGinn wants to make Seattle a gun-free zone. [“Business ‘gun free’ program launches,” page one, Aug. 19.]
Instead, Seattle should be a McGinn-free zone.
Mike Smyth, Bellevue
More unintended consequences from Mayor Mike McGinn.
“Gun-free zones” are intended to prevent crime. Instead, they encourage crime by disarming law-abiding citizens. They do nothing to stop criminals who, by definition, don’t care about the law.
Criminals are happy to know there won’t be any armed citizens to stand in their way.
Similarly, when Mayor McGinn caused gridlock all around the city by replacing car lanes with bike lanes, he probably exacerbated climate change by causing drivers to sit in traffic, emitting carbon dioxide.
It’s hard to imagine that enough commuters got out of their cars and onto their bicycles to offset the gridlock’s effect on emissions.
The man needs to do some critical thinking before implementing any more feel-good, counterproductive “solutions.”
Maggie Willson, Seattle
Where will it stop?
Now that Mayor Mike McGinn is providing stickers for business owners establishing gun-free business locations, will he be willing provide us with lawn signs saying that there are no guns in the residence?
Bob Burnside, Edmonds
August 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Learn about mental illness, de-escalation
It seems nothing short of a miracle that the Metro driver who recently suffered an armed assault survived, let alone with relatively minimal physical injury. [“Metro driver recalls terror, riders who rushed to help,” page one, Aug. 14.]
It is fortunate that this occurred in an area with a high concentration of law-enforcement personnel, who were able to respond quickly.
I am a fellow Metro transit driver, and dealing directly with persons affected by mental illness is just one part of our job. However, situational de-escalation training provided by Metro Transit is modest — I received far more training in a previous tech-support job.
The gunman in this incident was obviously a person with long-standing, deep-seated issues with mental health and substance abuse. As mental-health services at all levels of our governments are stretched to the breaking point, and as King County is not likely to spring for additional training in these budget-challenged times, I would like to propose we, as both a transit workforce and as a community, move forward at a grass-roots level.
There is a national movement afoot called Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). MHFA is designed to provide an informed method for dealing constructively with individuals in a heightened state of distress.
A small tool may be better than no tool. Even with the fastest possible police response time, the seconds that transpire before police can arrive can be a few seconds too long.
Ann Ziegler, Metro Transit operator, Seattle
Guns are too easy to get
The recent article on the Seattle Police Department’s investigation of the bus shooting states that “among the unanswered questions is how Duckworth obtained the revolver used to shoot Dupuis. A felon with a history of drug offenses and mental-health issues, he was not allowed to carry a firearm.” [“Around the Northwest: Long probe seen in bus shooting,” NW Friday, Aug. 16.]
For anyone who was on the street during the city gun buyback this January, the answer to “how” is an easy one. I was at the buyback to get rid of one of my grandfather’s old guns, and as I walked the three blocks from my car to the collection point, I was approached by no less than five individuals offering to buy my gun.
I was stunned to learn that it would have been entirely legal for me to have sold my gun to one of these guys.
[Editor’s note: According to the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: “A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law.”]
The lesson here is that buying guns in this state can be quite simple and free of paperwork and background checks, no matter what the state of your mental health is, or your criminal history.
If you want to stop this sort of ridiculous and dangerous market, sign and support Initiative 594 to the state Legislature. Supported by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the initiative would require background checks for all gun sales.
Matt Huston, Seattle
May 13, 2013 at 6:04 AM
Require gun registration and background checks
I am not against responsible gun ownership, even though I personally do not own a gun [“States seek to fix gun background check backlog,” seattletimes.com, May 10]. What I don’t understand is what most gun owners have to fear if gun registration were to become a requirement. It only takes a few minutes to register a gun and it would greatly reduce the chance of the wrong people gaining access to weapons.
In addition, I cannot fathom why any gun owner would want a high-capacity device. This makes no sense. Registration would make it less likely that a mentally ill person would have access to a gun. Congress must require a background check on all gun purchases.
Ruth Ann Handewith, Seattle
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