I am reminded of a verse from a folk song we sang in the ’60s “how many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?” That is the same question the former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords asked when she testified before Congress.
Our own legislature is taking up the question and trying to put together solutions to a problem that is multifaceted. Those who want no gun restrictions seem to be willing to prevent those who do from speaking their mind when they try to shout them down at public hearings.
The NRA, in its testimony before Congress, admitted that if there are universal background checks, including gun shows, then criminals would avoid them by not going to gun shows. So the NRA admits that criminals can and do go to gun shows and buy weapons because no one will check their background. That alone should be a valid reason to enforce universal background checks.
While the Second Amendment to the Constitution allows for citizens to have weapons, the courts have ruled that the federal or state government can place restrictions. Fully automatic weapons are outlawed.
But what is the real difference from a gun that can shoot 30 rounds in a minute to one that can shoot 300? Certainly neither are used for hunting unless it is people being hunted.
When you get a driver’s license it is good for several years and you have to renew the license on a regular basis. When you purchase a gun and go through a background check, it is good forever. Should it be harder to get a driver’s license than it is to get a permit to purchase a gun?
Another justification for allowing semi-automatic weapons is to protect yourself from a tyrannical government. Ask yourself this question: Could you prevent a police SWAT team from arresting you with your semi-automatic weapon? Would the end result be multiple deaths?
It is time for we citizens to make our voices heard. We need to contact our State Representatives (either Jason Perillo or Larry Miller) and our State Senator Kevin Kelly. Tell them to support universal background checks, banning of semi-automatic weapons, banning large capacity magazines and improving mental health services.
The Shelton Democratic Town Committee approved a resolution and included a request to our local elected officials to make all city-owned property weapon-free zones. The exception, of course, would be for law enforcement.
We fully understand that this ordinance would not have prevented any of the recent gun violence, but it is a statement that we as a city believe that there are places where weapons just don’t belong, like schools, community centers, dog parks and libraries.
Here is the resolution:
Whereas: On Friday, December 14th, 2012, our neighbors and friends, their loved ones and colleagues of Sandy Hook, Newtown, and Connecticut suffered an unfathomable tragedy. We can only imagine the pain and suffering that they are enduring and will endure for far too long. In this time of sadness we feel helpless to lessen the burden of their grief and yet we know that as responsible citizens we must do something to ensure that no community must ever face this kind of tragedy again.
Therefore be it resolved: That We, the Shelton Democratic Town Committee, fully support President Barack Obama in “the most aggressive and expansive national gun control agenda in generations” and call on Congress to enact measures, including but not limited to:
1) Universal background checks for all gun buyers
2) A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips
3) Enhanced mental health services
4) Stronger enforcement of the laws currently on the books.
We also join and support Governor Dannel P. Malloy and members of our Connecticut Congressional Delegation and members of the Connecticut General Assembly in taking on a leading role in enacting laws and necessary changes in our society in all of our communities to remove gun violence.
We further request that the Elected Leaders of Shelton Connecticut enact legislation that makes all city owned property weapons-free. Law enforcement officers would be exempt.
David Gioiello is the chair of Shelton’s Democratic Town Committee.