Climate

Letters: What is the rationale for owning an assault weapon?

What is the rationale for owning an assault weapon?

Re: “Assault weapons ban is unconstitutional and unwarranted” April 21 commentary

Even though I consider myself a progressive Democrat, there have been times when I’ve agreed with Krista Kafer’s viewpoints; she usually seems like a reasonable, rational Republican, which is nice to find these days. I cannot say, though, that her viewpoint on assault weapons strikes a similar chord.

Trying to liken a ban on pit bulls to a ban on assault weapons is laughable. The two are not even remotely on the same level. Yes, a pit bull ban may seem unwarranted to some. If an owner can truly be responsible, a ban might not be necessary. But let’s face it.

While a bad pit bull might end up hurting a person, an assault weapon can end up hurting many people. It’s like comparing a firecracker to multiple hand grenades or bombs. A person might be able to easily get away from an out-of-control pit bull; climb a nearby tree, get inside somewhere, etc. The same cannot be said about an assault weapon. You might be dead before you even know it’s there.

I don’t believe in a ban on all guns. People have a right to protect themselves if they feel a need. But seriously, what rational person feels that they need an assault weapon merely to protect themselves? Maybe we should also give them access to a grenade launcher if they fear that an angry mob might attack them.

— Paul Ruzicka, Aurora

Banning assault weapons is not solving the problem

Re: “ ‘Assault weapons’: Sullivan likely key vote on ban,” April 21 news story

“Assault weapons are not suitable for self-defense and are not well-suited for hunting, sporting, or any purpose other than mass killing.” — Excerpt from House Bill 1292.

This is one of the pillars of reasoning behind this bill and exhibits gross misinformation, stereotyping, prejudice, and dismal problem-solving ability by the bill’s three authors.

They are oblivious to the various legitimate reasons tens of millions of Americans choose to own the firearms slated for a ban. Owners don’t owe these people an explanation, and clearly, they are averse to even knowing any such reasons.

The frenzy to reduce deaths by banning certain firearms rooted in the irrational factors stated above would be far better channeled into efforts to reduce far more deaths by curbing activities and habits that result in the leading causes of deaths posted on the CDC website: deaths that arise from neglect, carelessness, and lack of knowledge. These causes outnumber deaths by firearms by a considerable factor.

Firearms owners desire to stop mass killings as much as the authors and supporters of bills like this do, and offer better solutions. Start with a focus on keeping firearms out of the wrong hands, not on depriving millions of law-abiding citizens of them, which has absolutely no effect on mass killing.

— J. Louis Allard, Westminster

I completely understand how easy it seems that by banning any guns, some voters and their elected representatives feel that would eliminate deaths by firearms. Well, if we only banned automobiles, that would certainly eliminate traffic fatalities. The point is I strongly feel our governmental leaders seem to forget about our Second Amendment and that they are trying to pass legislation that’s unconstitutional. I’m blown away that committee chairman James Coleman is quoted as saying he was leaning toward supporting the bill because “I don’t understand why folks need” the weapons.

Senator, our Constitution granted citizens that right — giving them the ability to defend themselves and their property. Though times have changed dramatically, the need for defenses afforded by the Second Amendment has remained much the same. “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Our political leaders need to craft legislation that bans the wrong people from buying or possessing firearms, like convicted criminals and those too young or mentally challenged. Enforce the laws that are already on the books and perhaps even increase penalties for committing any crime with a firearm. Stop trying to ban firearms to law-abiding citizens. Yes, even modern semi-automatic weapons. It’s unconstitutional!

— Roger Austin, Aurora

The Australian solution: Could it work here?

State Sen. Tom Sullivan, who lost a son in the Aurora theater mass shooting, may oppose the proposed assault weapon ban because he believes it will likely prompt a rush on sales before it goes into effect. The Australians, who also have a frontier heritage, had a simple answer to that problem. In addition to banning the manufacture and sale of certain weapons, they also made it illegal to own them. They did not confiscate them. In the spirit of eminent domain, they purchased them back from the owners.

If we believe that certain weapons have no legitimate civilian purpose, banning their future manufacture and sale does nothing to eliminate the already widespread civilian ownership. Let’s have the same “guts” as Australian lawmakers (and presumably a majority of their constituents) and prohibit ownership of assault weapons (with a buyback). Then banning manufacture and sale becomes moot.

— David Wolf, Lakewood

We can reduce the harm from guns

Re: “The legacy of Columbine,” April 14 commentary

On hearing of the devastating violence at Columbine 25 years ago, I made a sign and immediately drove to the state Capitol from Larkspur to protest and walk out my rage and sorrow. The sign said, “And you want more guns??” The state legislature was considering two bills to ease access to guns. While those bills were withdrawn in the wake of Columbine, the worsening state of gun violence across the United States in the last 25 years is beyond intolerable. We still want more guns. And we can still make sensible changes to reduce harm.

— Beverly Sloan, Wheat Ridge

Forcing people down and out of housing

Re: “Colfax Avenue at a Crossroads,” April 21 news package

Your description of the housing issues facing the residents of the East Colfax area reveals a far greater problem. As prices rise, people who used to be able to purchase homes in “more desirable” areas of Denver are forced to look elsewhere. The “gentrification” that East Colfax is experiencing is a function of non-East Colfax people buying what they can afford. This has the effect of forcing people with lower incomes further down the housing ladder into rentals and finally onto the street.

There are two possible solutions for this situation. The first is to vastly expand public housing — at great expense to the taxpayers. The second is to legislate a requirement that business owners must hire at least 75% of their workers on a “full-time” basis and pay them at a rate where two full-time workers can afford to provide housing for themselves. This will be expensive for businesses and this cost will be passed on in the increased prices that all of us will have to pay. There is no cheap and easy way to solve the housing problem. But to do less will mean the expansion of a permanent unhoused underclass, which will make America look and feel more like the third-world country that, on its present course, it is rapidly becoming.

— Guy Wroble, Denver

Dispelling false accusations about NumbersUSA

Re: “Despite questionable poll, most Coloradans aren’t anti-growth,” April 7 commentary

CU Boulder assistant professor Brian Keegan smeared me and other colleagues in his recent column, which is replete with outright falsehoods and cherry-picked half-truths.

Keegan claims that we and our organization, NumbersUSA, have “long-standing ties to white supremacist networks,” particularly because my sprawl-studies co-author Roy Beck and I were contributors to The Social Contract. This allegation would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.

During its three decades of existence, that quarterly journal primarily focused on the environmental, economic, and societal impacts of immigration. It published a wide variety of authors, ranging from esteemed historians like Jewish immigrant Edward Luttwak to mainstream Democratic politicians like Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (the founder of Earth Day) and Colorado’s own former governor, Richard D. Lamm.

Roy founded NumbersUSA in 1996 to advocate for the solutions proposed by Civil Rights icon Barbara Jordan — chair of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The first southern Black woman elected to Congress, she recommended scaling back legal immigration and cracking down on illegal immigration, in part to increase recruitment and wages of the disproportionately large population of low-income African Americans. Helping that population remains a top initiative of NumbersUSA.

I’m a former Peace Corps volunteer and a registered Independent who votes mostly for Democrats. I married a Honduran immigrant and have two biracial sons.

Besides the disinformation in his ad hominem attacks, Keegan attempts to discredit Rasmussen Reports, whose polling found that overwhelming majorities of Colorado voters worry about the sprawl caused by population growth, and that a majority favor reducing immigration levels to temper that growth. He states that the pollster’s “inability to meet polling standards caused ABC News’ 538 to cut Rasmussen from its polling analyses.”

Conveniently, Keegan omits the facts that Rasmussen has the same lifetime accuracy rating as well-respected pollsters like Morning Consult and Ipsos, and that data guru and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver trashed ABC’s decision to exclude Rasmussen over a “political litmus test.”

The term “white supremacy” should never be used around any of us, other than to state our firm opposition to the ideology. And it should not be misused to silence a debate about what kind of population and sustainability future the citizens of Colorado want.

— Leon Kolankiewicz, Arlington, Va.

Editor’s note: Kolankiewicz is the scientific director of NumbersUSA.

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