LEAD LETTER OF THE WEEK

Enforce gun laws we already have

February 3, 2013 

In a Jan. 30 letter, Beryl Andrews writes “Let’s get the facts straight” on guns. I am a hunter, gun owner and retired police sergeant with over 22 years experience in law enforcement and emergency medicine. Most importantly, I am a family man with five girls to protect.

The Second Amendment is not about hunting; it is about self defense and personal freedom. This is not a knee-jerk reaction by gun owners. Gun control advocates have already stated that they hope to get half of what is in this bill now, and the rest next time. What is a knee-jerk reaction is rushing to pass this law and getting it wrong by only going after guns.

Why are politicians so resistant to enforcing and improving the laws we have regarding guns and dealing with mental health issues? The issue is not gun control but simply control, which in turn empowers them. If simply banning assault rifles is the answer, then why was the 1994 ban allowed to expire? If it was the answer, then why hasn’t anyone in Washington been pushing hard to get it reinstated until now?

Gun bans alone don’t work. In 1988 someone shot up the side of my ambulance with an Uzi. Someone forgot to tell the guy using it that Uzis were specifically banned in the 1984 gun control law. The inner city neighborhood where I worked was overrun with federally banned weapons. Criminals by definition do not obey laws. No one wants to entertain the idea of increased security in our schools, but who will protect our kids from the next guy who doesn’t obey the next gun ban law?

The police are not and cannot be everywhere, therefore it is your God-given right and your civic responsibility to protect yourself. Even in the quietest areas, the police response time can be 7 minutes or more. A lot can happen in 7 minutes if you can even get to the phone. Andrews asks: Why have an assault rifle if you should have it locked up where it would be useless anyway? A responsible gun owner should secure his firearms, but there are devices to safeguard them from children and intruders while making them accessible to you.

Also, for informational purposes, the features that our elected officials use to define what is an assault weapon are cosmetic and do not make them any more or less lethal. They are, however, what make them ideal for home defense. The pistol grip and adjustable stock does not make it shoot faster but does make it more controllable and adaptable to everyone in the family, so you actually need fewer firearms in the house.

To answer several writers who say hunters don’t use these rifles, yes they do. Properly equipped and with a low-capacity magazine, they are ideal for certain hunting applications. The misinformed have referred to there being no meat left on a deer. We are not talking about fully automatic rifles here as they have been led to believe. These rifles fire one shot for each pull of the trigger. The public needs to understand that automatic weapons, those which continually fire as long as your finger is on the trigger, were banned for civilian ownership in 1934. They are already illegal to own without a federal license.

Finally, to answer Mr. Fisher (Jan. 30 letter, “Are police for the 2nd Amendment?”), all the patrol officers I know are pro-Second Amendment, however I can’t speak for the career politician commissioners and chiefs you often see on in the media.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.

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