Letters to the Editor

Congress, cowardice and assault weapons | Letters

AR-15 rifle, as shown in this public domain image. - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use
AR-15 rifle, as shown in this public domain image.
— image credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use

In the wake of the massacre in the Connecticut elementary school, I have been reading newspaper articles and hearing reports on TV news that gun violence is down across America.

Even if gun violence across America went down to one incident, can we accept such an incident where 26 people were shot and killed, 20 of them elementary school students — children who were just starting life?

Who are these people that obtain assault rifles and say it’s for sport? The name itself puts the lie to this claim. To quote Webster’s dictionary, assault is “a violent, physical or verbal attack.” Black’s Law Dictionary says assault is “any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury upon the person of another ....”

I remember seeing a photo in a newspaper some time ago of a person attending an outdoor meeting where President Obama spoke. He was carrying an assault rifle slung over his shoulder. That is beyond my comprehension.

Although what I propose is not original, there needs to be steps taken that may prevent such mass killings in the future. I acknowledge the Second Amendment and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing possession of guns. I am not against responsible gun ownership. However, this does not mean that stronger regulation cannot be had.

1. A longer waiting period (30 days) to allow authorities sufficient time to do background checks.

2. No exceptions to registering the purchase of a gun no matter where obtained (e.g., gun shows).

3. Special background checks for people with a history of mental illness, convictions of domestic violence, court ordered and attendees of anger management classes, felons who have applied to restore their right to possess a weapon.

There is no question that the shooter in Connecticut is directly responsible for the deaths of all these people, but I also hold all members of Congress indirectly responsible. How many more mass murders are we to experience before something is done to minimize these horrible acts of violence?

I charge Congress with cowardice and dereliction of duty. I look forward to their response to this latest act of violence.

Harry M. Reichenberg, Federal Way


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