Finding common ground


Guns! Oh no, I can see everybody's spine stiffen, and quite honestly I can't really believe I'm gonna wade in here! My God you could argue online 24/7 if you want.

You might as well ask who makes the best pizza in town!

A lot of people much smarter then me have been pounding both sides of this argument for a long, long time and anybody can Google extreme debate points on both sided of the issue. I'm no expert, these are just my heartfelt ramblings, so please don't judge me too harshly.

I'm a firearm owner, actually much more then that, I'm an avid enthusiast (some might say rabid enthusiast). I collect cannons, guns, anything I can legally get my hands on that goes bang! I find the history, production, and use of firearms fascinating and it has given me a lifetime of pleasure. I believe in the right of any sane, honest citizen to own guns and let's not start right off arguing about who that is.

I'm sure I don't need to but let's cover some basics. I'm just gonna copy and paste some stuff, because let's face it, this has all been covered a gazillion times.

Proponents of more gun control laws state that "The Second Amendment was intended for militias; that gun violence would be reduced; that gun restrictions have always existed; and that a huge majority of 88 percent of Americans, including gun owners, support new gun restrictions."

Opponents say that "The Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns; that guns are needed for hunting, hobby, self-defense from threats ranging from local criminals to foreign invaders; and that gun ownership deters crime rather than causes more crime. "

OK, we've got that out of the way.

In Vermont It is "illegal to carry a gun on school premises or in a courthouse and that's it. State law preempts local governments from regulating the possession, ownership, transfer, carrying, registration or licensing of firearms. The State neither issues nor requires a permit to carry a weapon on one's person, openly or concealed." Now Vermont is the safest state in the nation; many would argue it's because of our gun laws, followed by Maine and Wyoming. Wyoming ranks No. 1 by a huge margin in guns per capita, with a whopping 196 per 1,000 people. Maine is 36th with 8.7 guns per 1,000. We rank surprisingly low for gun ownership at 43rd with 6.4 guns per 1,000, and it doesn't fall much farther after that until you get to New York with 3.3. Now you can make an argument one way or the other with those stats, I can see no rhyme or reason. We all know that anybody can take statistics and monkey around and come to any conclusion they want. Our State is the safest, with a relatively low per capita gun possession, and some of the least restrictive gun ownership laws in the country. Some states with the most restrictive gun laws also have some of the highest per capita gun ownership but also have huge crime and visa-versa, tough laws low crime and high crime, lax laws low crime and high crime. Go figure. So gun laws and crime rates don't correlate, not even a little, or at least I see no correlation.

So why do we even need to talk about guns here, it's a non-issue here.

Well, it's a national issue and what goes down nationally will affect us, so let's talk.

I don't want to get in a war with anti-gun people here. I mean no disrespect here but let's face it some (a lot!) of you don't know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Fully automatic guns, pull the trigger and it fires rapidly and repeatedly till the magazine is empty have been illegal since Moses. The "Assault" weapons in the news that look so menacing, and yes they are fine for hunting, and many other guns that look like what most folks think of as a traditional hunting guns, can all be semi-automatic. Those brown stock guns would have had the same effect in Orlando, they both fire one bullet with each trigger pull. The point we need be arguing about is the magazine size, background checks and no sales to people on the terrorist list.

Gun enthusiasts, I firmly believe if we don't force Congress to pass sensible gun legislation, with the almost guaranteed coming liberal make up of the Supreme court for better or worse (all the pundits will be telling me not to quit my day job), I'm afraid a well funded contest of the present system to SCOTUS will guarantee we end up with very severely restrictive and oppressive regulations.

So where does that leave us?

I firmly believe that almost no one wants any terrorist, mentally unstable, or criminally insane person to be able to get their hands on ANY weapons. Under the present system we obviously cannot guarantee that. Now the definitions of who those people are will obviously have to be hammered out. Again I can see the arguments coming here, and again both sides have tons of well worn material to argue a point. This is gonna be tough; the NRA's lobbyists went on television Sunday to threaten lawmakers supporting any gun-control measures, even just a conversation, and I quote "They will have to 'pay a price for even whispering it.'" So no nothing, no conversation period. Not even for what I would think is a no-brainer, purchases by individuals on the terrorist watch list. Again, please let's not get sidetracked about the constitutional problems with this, and who is or isn't or should be on that list. That's what we're supposedly paying our representatives to do!

Under these threats, and I don't need to tell you we're talking about huge money here, we can't even have a discussion, not even a whisper, not even a minuscule intelligent change made.

What I can talk intelligently about is my passion for us as a community.

We need wise and deliberate people that are willing to come together, for us and our children, not the multinationals and the Politicians who are forced to feed at the their trough.

Can we have our cake and eat it too? I hope so.

I really hesitate to push send. Dare I invite the wrath? Well I've never been known for commonsense.

Clarke Comollo is a local business owner and resident of East Dorset. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Manchester Journal.


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