More guns will make us safer

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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This is in regard to the two letters on gun control in the Jan. 9 Viewpoints section.

To Leslie Roberts [Keep the ban on concealed guns]: When the Constitution was written, we were no longer colonies. We were given the Second Amendment to protect ourselves against tyranny. That principle remains true today. The fact that guns can be used against criminals is an extra benefit.

To Bernie Pitzel [Long live the NRA, short live the rest of us]: The NRA is no more responsible for this tragedy than General Motors is when some doofus decides to drive drunk.

Now, to the main issues:

Every time there is a mass shooting, the public calls for more gun control. Let's start where we can both agree. There are too many mass shootings. The question is will more gun control solve the problem? Consider this: criminals are crazy, not stupid. If you want to shoot a large number of people, where will you go? To an NRA meeting or to a gun-free school? If the presence of guns were the problem, we would expect there to be a mass shoot-out every time there is a gun show. Instead, where do the mass killings happen? Shopping malls, gun-free movie theaters and schools.

If more gun ownership is the problem, then why do we not hear more about Kennesaw, Ga., the village that required its heads of household to purchase and keep a gun? Should not that village have degenerated into Wild West chaos? Actually, the crime rate plummeted since the passing of this ordinance, and no one has been involved in a fatal shooting. Criminals are not going to go where they may encounter someone with a gun. They are going to go somewhere they know their prey are unarmed, like Chicago.

It is quite understandable to want to take action when mass killings occur, especially children. We need to take the right action. SWAT teams needed 11 minutes to get to Sandy Hook Elementary School. That is 11 minutes that the killer had free reign at the school. If the principal or some of the teachers had been armed, they could have shot the killer before he killed so many people. Contrast Sandy Hook with Winnemuccas, Nev., 2008; Appalachian School of Law, 2002; Santee Calif., 2001; Pearl High School, Miss., 1997; and more where an armed civilian or off-duty policeman took out the gunman before there was a mass killing.

Excessive gun control laws ensure that guns are only in the hands of the criminals. We need to get guns into the hands of the good guys.

Carolyn Righeimer

Oak Park

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Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2013 2:56 PM

Interesting facts from DOJ data files about the "Gun Show loophole" Less than 2 percent of all gun sales, at gun shows, are by unlicensed sellers. It is true that at any average gun show, a little less than half of the sellers are licensed firearms dealers. What is always left out is the fact that almost all of those unlicensed, sellers are selling non-firearm sundries. Camo hunting wear, Gloves long john underwear and a lot of stuff you can get at your local Salvation Army Store. "Straw man" sales violate federal law now so there is no reason to forbid that. If the Department of Justice has reported this information accurately why are we spending any money to defeat this non-existent enemy?


Posted: January 27th, 2013 2:25 AM

"criminals are crazy, not stupid." Where, exactly, did that "fact" come from? You can bet the bank that the average IQ of criminals is well below that of the general population.

Dylan Bellisle from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 1:21 PM

Ray, You need to expound. Firstly, I will say that the word "unalienable" (which is what I think you meant to say, doesn't exist in the Constitution. Your are making reference to the Declaration of Independence, which is as important as say the Bible is in terms of what the Government can do. Secondly, rights are not absolute. You do not have an absolute right to speech. Thirdly, Of course government can rescind rights, it has before - prohibition, slavery, etc. Furthermore, government HAS and DOES take away individual rights based on actions. ie. if you have a certain criminal background your "right" to own a gun is taken away from you. Lastly, I personally never made mention to taking away anyones right, so I am curious to how this came about. Again, please expound on the argument you are trying to make. Thanks.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 12:14 PM

Dylan- The whole of our founding documents do not tell me what I can and cannot do. The Constitution and the amendments dictate what the government is allowed to do and what it is prohibited from doing. Inalienable rights cannot be rescinded by the government.


Posted: January 22nd, 2013 11:24 AM

Ray, You will need to expound because I don't know what you are getting at. So because someone already owns a gun, that should be protected? So along that line, since I have seeds to grow marijuana that should be protected? Since I have the materials to make a bomb, I should be allowed to? You certainly cannot be arguing that you have a right to own anything you want. Please expound.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 21st, 2013 4:22 PM

Dylan - the way I understand the Bill of Rights is that they don't give me anything. They protect that which is already mine, from intrusion by the government. This is evermore important as our government grows and expands into every corner of our lives.

Dylan Bellisle from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 11:03 PM

Furthermore, Your history is incorrect. We were not "given" the second amendment to protect ourselves against tyranny. The Second Amendment emerged out of a compromise between the North and the South. And between those who wanted Strong State Governments over Federal - ie. Articles of Confederation, and a Strong Federal Government over State Governments. State Governments wanted to protect their ability to resist rebellions, particularly slave rebellions. Militias filled that function. The militia was extremely ineffective in fighting the British, which is why we eventually created and funded an army. So no, that principle doesn't remain today. Slavery is no more, and the National Guard would be able to crush any "rebellion" and if you are called to serve in the military they supply you with guns, and give you training. The militia is no more.

Dylan Bellisle from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 9:44 PM

There were armed security guards at Columbine. More Guns does not mean safer. Contrast the amount of homicides here with say England. They have a lot less. Private citizens cannot own guns. But thats not the whole issue. Someone who commits a mass shooting is not a "criminal" they are most likely insane. Furthermore, those who do those acts have a reason for their targets. Its not just they "want to shoot a large number of people." They have a connection to the place or people they killed. Against Columbine, also Virginia Tech, and presumably Sandy Hook. The gun violence we should be most concerned about is that which is happening in the Streets of Chicago. The cause of this violence is poverty - the form of structural violence that the city allows and does nothing about.


Posted: January 20th, 2013 8:50 AM

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between good guys and bad guys. Sometimes good guys become bad guys. Sometimes good guys "snap" and do bad things. Having a gun at hand seriously escalates the likelihood that a confrontation that otherwise might dissipate will turn deadly. A gun in the home is 40+% more likely be used against someone in the home. Arming everyone is a cowardly and juvenile response. Work to reduce violence in society, rather than preparing to kill people.

OP Resident  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 9:39 AM

One idea that the NRA is pushing is upgrading the country's mental health services which will magically screen out the mentally deficient from purchasing assault rifles with 30 bullet clips. Not a bad idea. First in line for this service should be the wack jobs that insist the 2nd amendment guarantees the right of everyone, everywhere to own and use any weapon they want -- and in unlimited quantities.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 12:04 PM

The 2nd amendment was not about protecting from tyranny. The founders were not fans of a standing army, and so relied on a WELL REGULATED militia to protect from invasion. And if you think you'll defeat the United States military with Bushmasters, you're too crazy to be allowed to own a gun. Saying more guns make us safer is like saying unprotected sex reduces sexually transmitted diseases.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 11:30 AM

Jim- The three pro gun groups that are most vocal are NRA, Jews for the Preservation of Gun Rights and The Gun Owners of America. The NRA is the least rabid of the three and is chastised for their willingness to find common ground and sensible answers. I think most here lump all three together and the NRA takes some lumps for the positions of the other two. Your machine gun claims are absolutely true of GOA and JAGC. As are your claims of armor piercing ammo activism. If the NRA was any less powerful our second amendment rights would have been denied long ago. Oak Park is a prime example of the reason for NRA lobby power. You seem to have problems with the lobby success of the NRA while turning a blind eye to the power of SEIU, Teamsters and UAW. All very powerful lobby groups.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 11:01 AM

Observer, don't you feel the gun grabbers do the same thing? All the talk about banning "assault rifles" when FBI says on around 330 people were killed last year with rfiles of any kind, much less assault rifles. There are several million AR-15s in circulation. So why are gun grabbers so focused on assault rifles when there is clearly no epidemic based on actual numbers?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:45 AM

Ray, interesting report in today's Trib about the NRA and how it evolved from a group focused on shooting, hunting and conservation to become the most powerful lobby in the country.

Observer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:23 AM

One can make any point when the data is cherry picked, which is what Ms. Reigheimer did with bringing up Kennesaw, GA. Reigheimer's editorial further demonstrates that the gun interests in this country are more concerned about owning guns than damage caused by guns. Here are some facts that can be verified at Kennesaw, GA has a population of 30,196 and is about 26 miles from Atlanta. Kennesaw's total crime rate in 2010 was 541, which comes to 1 crime for every 58 residents.

Observer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:22 AM

There was 1 violent crime in Kennesaw for every 1,510 residents. Not bad for a bedroom community of Atlanta that mandates everyone carry a gun. However, Highland Park has a population of 29,882, is 27 miles from Chicago and had a total crime rate in 2010 of 364, which comes to 1 crime for every 82 residents. There is 1 violent crime for every 1,758 residents in Highland Park.

Observer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:22 AM

Morton Grove bans guns and was listed as 1 of the top 10 family communities as ranked by Family Circle. In 2010 Morton Grove had 1 crime for every 57 residents and 1 violent crime for every 2,125 residents. More guns do not make us safer as is evident from the crime statistics. Facts like these just seem to make the gun lobby more upset because it points to flaws in their arguments.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 8:49 AM

This is no "falsity, Wackie: Fifteen dead ... 23 wounded at Columbine despite Deputy Neil Gardner a 15-year veteran of the Jefferson County, CO, Sheriff, assigned as the uniformed officer at Columbine High School. And Deputy Paul Smoker, a motorcycle patrolman was near the school writing a speeding ticket. According to an account compiled by the Columbine police department, Gardner fired on Harris but was unsuccessful in stopping him.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 8:47 AM

Jim - we all see the video clips of gun shows with hundreds of guns displayed on tables. The loophole in the commentary is that individuals who sell large numbers of guns at shows are in fact licensed dealers who are obligated to do background checks. Those dealers sell guns for a livelihood and getting crosswise with the feds is something they avoid like the plague. The number of sales between individuals is very small and have not presented the problem we are all lectured about. If the bulk of the guns sold are by dealers, the claim of massive numbers of weapons going to gang bangers is just so much hype. Where are the bad guys getting guns? Straw man sales through legal dealers and transfer of large quantities of hand guns should be reported to law enforcement. If your dealers license was put in jeopardy things would resolve themselves.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 11:04 PM

Jim- Florida has an interesting set of laws. Caught with a gun committing a crime 5 years minimum. Use a gun in the commission of a crime 10 years minimum. Fire the gun it is automatic attempted 1st degree murder. No plea bargains - go to jail and throw away the key. Most of the loop holes happen when lawyers and judges do deals and let bad people back on the street.. Zero tolerance for armed felons. Who cannot agree with that plan?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 10:08 PM

Ray, I think the focus needs to be on keeping guns out of the hands of criminal and untrained individuals. The loopholes in our current laws have to be closed and the penalities increased significantly for those who to break those laws. You've commented on a number of occasions the need to protect 2nd amendment rights for those handle and use weapons in a responsible manner. I agree. Whether or not certain weapons and types of ammo should be restricted for use by the military and law enforcement is a different story. General Stanley McCrystal offered some very pointed and interesting views on that subject.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 6:37 PM

Jim- Sorry but I found it in poor taste to use kids that way. I was also upset with the NRA for making reference to the fact that Obama's children attend a school with armed guards - both were wrong. The statistical trend line for gun related crime has been on a downward slope for 40 years. The assault weapons ban and magazine restrictions made no plus or minus change in that line - additionally there was no change after the ban expired. Logic would indicate that the ban was a feel good act that changed nothing. Assault weapons, what ever that means, are such a small part of any criminal study that they hardly move the needle. A former N.Y. prosecutor and elected judge stated that in 30 years in the court system and tens of thousands of cases she only experienced one incidence of a crime committed with a legally owned and registered hand gun. We are throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 6:02 PM

Ray, you know that President Obama wasn't hiding behind children at today's public announcement. That's straight out of Limbaugh's vile mouth. You're better than that!I'm surprised you didn't know that those kids represented all of the young children who had written to him to express their concerns and fears about the tragedy in Newtown. Of course, you know that President Obama was accurate when referenced Ronald Reagan as a former commander in chief who supported an assault weapons ban. We all agree that some action is needed to promote gun safety and protect innocent lives. The hard work is ahead of us.


Posted: January 16th, 2013 3:23 PM

To add to Carolyn's mention of Kennesaw - this town was selected by Family Circle magazine as 1 of the nation's10 best family towns- big opportunities w/suburban charm, affordable housing, good jobs, top schools & less stress (probably due to good schools w/o sky high property taxes). In 2010 there were 3 murders by one man in a school safety zone because employees of a business in that 1000 ft from a school weren't permitted guns on their premises. Safety zones proven lunatic portals.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 2:29 PM

Jim - sure - his commitment to enforcing existing gun laws, his understanding that mental health was a major factor, background checks that include medical/mental requirements, sharing information between government agencies. Expending tax dollars on some feel good assault ban is sending god money after bad and is a waste of real resources. A ten year experiment that made no statistical difference during or after. I was offended by his hiding behind a bunch of kids. I hope you saw through the political theatrics and understand that this is just another Rham crisis not to waste.

neutralish from oak park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 2:08 PM

I am not sure that it is accurate to say that criminals go to Chicago to because they don't fear guns. I believe the areas with these murders and gun violence seem to be pretty well armed. Lots of gun violence. Many young people being murdered on a daily basis. Seems as though lack of guns isn't the problem. Its lack of opportunity, hope, and perpetual poverty and drugs. Guns don't seem to be helping their lives. Do you gun lovers really feel safer clutching your gun and hiding in fear?


Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:57 PM

Wrong again Wack-job. Read the eyewitness accounts, not Wikipedia or the NRA handout.


Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:55 PM

Shawnee, OK last week -woman home alone. Door bell rings- man at the door w/two others waiting in a car. She gets her gun as her door is broken into. She points her gun at him & he can't shut what's left of the door fast enough & gets the hell out of there. Hope he was wearing his Depends.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:53 PM

Ray, I trust you listened to President Obama outline his proposals to address gun safety issues. Were there any that you would support?


Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:39 PM

Also, Parker Middle School dance shooting, restaurant owner holds shooter at bay with his shotgun until police arrive, Mayan Palace Theater, shooter shot by off duy cop


Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:27 PM

Like many gun control advocates, Jackie is spicing her arguments with falsities: Appalachian School of Law, 2 law students pointed their weapons at the shooter who then dropped his handgun, and THEN was tackled by a third unarmed student. Pearl HS, assistant principal held shooter at gun point after he crashed his car fleeing


Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:20 PM

@Ray--say something constructive or STFU.


Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:12 PM

Like many gun advocates here, Carolyn is spicing her arguments with falsities and fantasies. Here are the facts: Appalacian School of Law, 3 dead, 3 wounded, gunman subdued by an unarmed bystander, a Mr. Besen (Richmond Times Dispatch 5/5/02); Santee/Santana H.S., 2 dead, 13 wounded, shot security officer 5x, apprehended by police (CNNonlline 3/5/01); Peal H.S., 2 dead, 7 wounded, stopped when he lost control of vehicle after escape from scene; Winnimucca, 3 dead, many wounded in a bar.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 12:52 PM

Jackie - why demean people who don't agree with you? Stereotypical images of moonshiners punctuated by poor english sure isn't an argument anyone would be swayed by. Tom - so we just lay down and let the government ignore their restrictions regarding guns.. "Shall not be infringed" is a prohibition on government - not citizens.

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 11:44 AM

I guess I will again have to point out to the gun nuts that the 3 times in our history when US citizens took up arms against the government, the government violently repelled the attack. Do you really think that your stock of arms really prevents tyranny or that the Joint Chiefs of Staff fear you? Delusional is the nicest term that comes to mind.

Random Citizen  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 11:28 AM

The populace must be prepared to attack the UNited States Armed Forces. Why do we want to do that, again?

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 11:22 AM

rList - Yes, you alone are a small force. If many of your neighbors join you, that is a different story and one no politician wants to face. Just like the question in the mind of a thug about your ability to fight back, politicians fear an armed constituency for the same reason.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 11:21 AM

rlist... I think the vietcong, afghan, iraq, and syrian fighters would disagree with you. Tanks, drones, battleships, etc while effective are not going to win wars alone. The point is the mere threat of an armed populace prevents governments from doing something tyrannical which is why the first step is always to disarm the public. The pick up truck driving good ole boys with guns the left loves to make fun of are the very people who are going to keep you free.  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 11:03 AM

I fall in the middle in this whole argument, but regarding the right "to protect ourselves against tyranny"...I assume that means the govt. How exactly does that help me in the 21st century? Meaning, if I had the best automatic weaponry in the world and holed myself up in my house against a tyrannical govt, couldn't they just order a drone attack and take me out from above? The best guns in the world wouldn't help me. Technology has advanced so far to render this argument moot IMO.


Posted: January 16th, 2013 10:53 AM

Reposting my clairvoyant comment from yesterday from different gun-related article on this site...Internet 101: Increasing traffic to your website: Post NRA article. Endless back-and-forth will not change core beliefs of posters but will ensure repeated hits from handful of posters, further enlightenment to site viewers will not be obtained, people will tire of comments board inundated w/ comments on same article and eventually ignore, article will fade away...REPEAT!

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 8:42 AM

Three cheers to Carolyn - brace yourselves for the hand wringers. We will hear from the White house, today, what is in store for the second amendment.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 11:15 PM

Thanks Carolyn! As far as I'm concerned the whole "assault weapons" thing is a Red Herring. The real problem are the shootings and murders committed with handguns in the inner city. Making strict rules for legal gun owners isn't going to stop someone who obtained a gun illegally in the first place. What we need are mandatory sentencing laws for using a firearm in the commission of a crime. No parole, no judge discretion or felony review board. The person goes away for 10 years minimum.


Posted: January 15th, 2013 10:43 PM

>>>Criminals are not going to go where they may encounter someone with a gun. They are going to go somewhere they know their prey are unarmed, like Chicago.<<< Or like Oak Park, Carolyn, like they do now.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 10:32 PM

Very well said, Carolyn. An articulate, informed, logical and unemotional discussion of an important issue. Which, of course, means that the mouth-breathing lefties in Our Town will soon be bashing you from all directions. Stay strong!

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