With the nation's gun laws under siege yet again after the Colorado tragedy, tbt* readers defend the ownership of guns.
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Wow! I see tbt* was riddled with gun-related topics Tuesday. Thank you for allowing a broad line of comments and articles from both sides of the field — that is the one thing that keeps me reading tbt* almost daily.
In the News Talk article World Wide (Weapon) Web, Jack Healy of the New York Times writes: "Unhindered by federal background checks or government oversight, James Holmes was able to build a 6,000-round arsenal legally and easily over the Internet." Yes, you can purchase ammunition online, but honestly, from what I've seen at local ranges, 6,000 rounds is hardly a mark on the federal radar. I have seen groups at ranges go through that many rounds in a single day. And buying in bulk is cheaper.
However, Holmes could not have amassed his arsenal online without going through a barrage of checks. Federal law requires that firearms cannot be shipped to anyone other than a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). The purchaser must then go to the FFL and go through the same FBI background checks as if he bought the weapon in a store. Colorado (and Florida) also require an additional background check through the state's law enforcement database.
I have experienced this process when purchasing a lower receiver for my AR-15. Yes, I have an AR-15. In fact, I have three firearms nearly identical to the ones used by Holmes, but you will never see me use them for anything other than sport and the unfortunate need for lawful self-defense. The Bushmaster AR-15 is one of the most popular hunting rifles used today, due to its durability, reliability, and accuracy.
There is a reason gun control is losing support. Thanks to the instant availability of information on the Internet, the average citizen is able to fact-check every statement made by politicians, special-interest groups, and media outlets with a few clicks.
Cody Evans, Lithia
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Why do people fear someone with a carry permit? They're not the ones who are going to go on a shot 'em up rampage. Do you think this nut would have tried this if he thought a large part of the audience was armed? No, because his goal was to get notoriety and he wouldn't have gotten that because he would have been quickly killed by the law-abiding, legal carrying gun owners. Think about it. Would anti-gun folks rather sit next to me knowing I am a licensed, registered, background-checked, gun-carrying person or next to the nut who doesn't care about the law?
James Molloy, Pinellas Park
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I was absolutely stunned to read Ray Wilson's letter to the editor Tuesday (Is no one monitoring this stuff?), wherein he seems shocked that there's no government system in place to track the purchase of completely legal items over the Internet. He seemed hurt that Homeland Security hasn't yet developed a database to issue an alert when some individual has exceeded his maximum level of guns.
But wait. There is no maximum level of guns that the law allows. I don't want the government tracking my Internet or store purchases or my credit card usage. What I do want is an absolute minimum of government interference and monitoring in my life, which the Constitution has codified as the law of the land.
Randy Hall, Clearwater
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In his email to the editor Tuesday, Daniel Barker has his examples of other countries and guns. I have mine. The Swiss, whose unique military arrangement (they don't have one) has them requiring their citizens carry government-supplied firearms. The result? A violent crime rate so low it's literally incalculable.
As to "assault" weapons, every weapon used in an assault is by definition an assault weapon, but I'll assume you mean military-equivalent AK- or AR-type weapons, which make up 4 percent of the U.S. gun stock and are used in 1 percent of gun crimes. Exactly how is banning them going to protect anyone?
Martin Van Buren, Brandon