Tuesday, October 24, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 20
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Santa Maria Sun / Commentary

The following article was posted on October 10th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 31 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 31

The time to act is now

By KEN MCCALIP

We all in America need to put gun violence in perspective.

Most Americans do not realize that we have nearly twice as many guns at 88.8 per 100 citizens as any other nation. Researchers have correlated guns with higher homicide rates in the United States. After the horrific shootings at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, the time for America to finally act has arrived. Rapid-fire guns of all types need to be banned in the United States as they serve no purpose either for hunting or other normal activities. Legislation needs to provide for those with these rapid-fire guns and accessories to be turned over to authorities, during a certain time period, with stiff prison sentences for those who defy the new rules and later have them in their possession.

Mealy mouthed statements in response by our elected representatives to the unified tune of, “Now is not the time,” is laughable as now is far passed the time to act. We as a nation have suffered through event after event of depressing news cycles with no action from Congress time after time. Now is time for the American people to rise up in protest and speak out loudly and clearly, as is our right in our great democracy. The response needs to be deafening so that Washington and the entire world hears our voices! Now is the time to show our respect to our fallen brothers and sisters by speaking out demanding action! We came together as one nation when other lunatics tried to take down our republic at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon! We must come together as one nation now!

Unfortunately, Congress is moving in the opposite direction with bills pending in Congress, supported by the NRA, to roll back decade-old public protections. First, among these is a bill to roll back restrictions on silencers, which could make it difficult in mass shootings for police to detect where gunfire is coming from. This was explicitly shown in the Las Vegas mass killing as police were able to locate the shooter quickly in the hotel’s upper levels based on sounds heard.

In addition, another provision of the NRA bill would allow armor-piercing bullets to be sold to the public if the manufacturer claims the ammunition is made for sporting purposes. Sporting purposes? I never saw deer or birds riding around in armored vehicles while I hunted!

Also, the proposed legislation would loosen restrictions on hunting and shooting on public lands and other long-standing protections. It would remove protections for migratory birds and remove fishing restrictions in marine sanctuaries. Do we want to dodge bullets in our national parks and public lands?

Police chiefs have come together in opposition to the bill with a strongly worded letter in opposition to the NRA proposed legislation. The letter states, “The widespread use and uncontrolled distribution of silencers is a step in the wrong direction and will result in tragedy and in violence directed at the public and at police officers.”

The second disgusting bill proposed by the NRA is one that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in any state if it is allowed in the state where they live. Thus in California and New York, which have strong regulations that require applicants to show a need, plus submit to a background check, would allow out-of-state folks to be exempt from these sane requirements and they could freely have a concealed weapon. Both of these bills deserve our strong, united condemnation as not being appropriate for our country’s public safety.

Even gun owners I have spoken to are sickened by the events at the festival. Currently, the death toll stands at 59 and may climb with the 527 injured. Yes, mental health issues cause mass shootings, but the major cause is easy access to rapid-fire guns. Military rapid-fire guns have no place in a civilized society. They are certainly not part of sport of hunting in any way.

In addition to condemnation of the NRA bills, it is time for all American citizens to stand united for public safety and insist on the passage of new federal legislation that outlaws the sale and possession of all rapid-fire guns and accessories to the public with strong prison sentences for possession. Join me and call your representatives demanding a no vote on NRA legislation and for the passage of prohibitions on rapid-fire guns and accessories in the United States of America. We all deserve a safe place to live!

Ken McCalip is a North Santa Barbara County native who holds bachelor and doctorate degrees in history, cultural geography, and law from various California universities. Send your thoughts to letters@santamariasun.com.




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At the beach, sunset.
When out with friends, selfies!
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