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Jerry Davich: Gun control — our country’s hair-trigger oxymoron

Daniel White Estes Park Colo. waves placard pro-gun rally as Colorado Legislature opened its general sessiacross street State Capitol Denver

Daniel White of Estes Park, Colo., waves a placard at a pro-gun rally as the Colorado Legislature opened its general session across the street in the State Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. About 100 protesters, many of them attracted by flyers they picked up at gun shows, waved signs calling on lawmakers to reject gun-control measures in response to mass shootings in Colorado and elsewhere last year. Inside, lawmakers were already talking about guns. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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Updated: February 19, 2013 12:08PM



Gun control.

Can you think of two words that prompt more controversy these days?

More to the point, can you think of a more appropriate oxymoron in this country? The last thing we have any control over is the issue of guns and gun violence.

Yet everybody has a hair-trigger opinion on this issue and, of course, everybody is convinced they are a straight shooter who is in the right. Not me, however. I feel caught in the crosshairs between the over saturation of guns in our society versus the concerns of (legal and responsible) gun owners who believe their rights are in jeopardy.

“Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are being trampled on, and it’s getting worse by the day,” explained Gary Reusze of Crown Point.

“It escapes me that the main-line media ignores what is so obviously in plain sight. Not just the gun issue, but many other of what freedoms we still have,” he told me. “We are on the edge of extreme socialism and the stupid general public is more concerned about who’s prancing about on ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ ”

I agree with him regarding our overall intelligence level regarding mind-numbing reality TV shows versus critical public policies. But “extreme socialism”?

“You parrot the B.S. from King Obama that he has no direct intention of harming gun owners’ rights and you accept that as gospel,” Reusze told me after reading my column on this issue before the Dec. 14 mass shooting at the Connecticut grade school.

“This is from one of those people operating under the weight of hype, fear and ignorance,” he said sarcastically, echoing my column’s premise that Uncle Sam is not coming after his weapons.

Up to today, in Obama’s fifth year as president, he has done nothing concrete to enact gun-control legislation. Only talk, including the special task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden to develop recommendations against gun violence.

Such facts, however, get in the way of gun-rights activists.

“The Obama administration has shown it is more than willing to trample the Constitution to impose its dictates upon the American people,” said Larry Ward, president of Political Media Inc. “If the American people don’t fight back now, Obama will do to the Second Amendment what he has already done to the First with Obamacare — gut it without a moment’s thought to our basic constitutional rights.”

Ward is chairman of the upcoming “Gun Appreciation Day,” taking place Saturday, “urging Americans nationwide to show their support for gun ownership by turning out en masse at gun stores, ranges, and shows,” according to a news release.

The event(?) is sponsored by a new coalition of gun-rights and conservative groups was scheduled “to send a message to Washington two days before Obama’s second inauguration.”

Member organizations are urging supporters to “line up around the block at gun stores, gun counters, gun shows, and gun ranges to protest the Obama administration’s post-Sandy Hook assault on gun rights.”

It’s expected to rival “Chick-fil-A Day” as a public statement of protest against government policies, and it’s already the focus of a national petition against its intent.

“If, as this president claims, the American people are at risk from murderous rampagers, the logical solution is to arm, not present a docile target,” Ward states in his release.

This is where I start misunderstanding their point.

This is where I cite hype, hyperbole and fear-mongering in their cause, as noted in a recent National Rifle Association fund-raising letter to its legions of supporters. In it, the NRA’s vice president compares the ongoing battle for gun rights with World War II vets’ battles for our very freedom.

“Their calling is now ours,” the NRA official wrote.

Really? Again, this loses me and only dilutes their point, not strengthens it.

‘Report the truth’

“I am a long-time gun owner and really don’t appreciate anyone categorizing me as some knuckle-dragging half-wit because of it,” said Reusze. “You look down on those among us who want to be able to protect our homes and properties from the army of slugs running loose in our streets.”

No, Gary, I don’t. I respect your right and willingness to protect your family, your property and your community if need be. And, for other readers’ knowledge, Gary and I have exchanged a few emails on this issue and came to a mutual understanding.

“I wish you well Mr. Davich,” his last email ended. “I hope you never experience the need for self-protection when you don’t have a cop at your side.”

Classy gesture, I thought.

I have since spoken with other local gun owners, including a Wanatah man who was part of the gun-buying blitz immediately after the grade school mass shooting that left 20 children dead.

“What prompted me to buy another gun? To tell you the truth, I always wanted an automatic rifle just to have, and because I can as an American citizen. I guess I wanted to practice that right,” he said. “To me, it’s no different than voting, and I had the right to practice that, too.”

I can understand this stance in theory, but not in a practical sense.

“I don’t think anyone needs an assault weapon for personal protection or hunting,” he added, addressing my knee-jerk response to buying such weapons. “But I just think it’s useless to ban them. The guns are already out there.”

Again, you’re losing me. Why ban assault-type weapons simply because they’re already in society? I disagree with that “horse is out of the barn” premise.

As this debate rages in Congress (and our region and country), other inter-connected factors also need to be debated, such as the mental health facet, gun violence research, and school security precautions.

“Criminals commit criminal acts. Yet 40 percent of Americans own guns that do not kill anyone,” said Joseph Coates of Valparaiso, in response to my social media post on this issue.

“What if the government found speaking out against the government was dangerous and decided to limit your freedom of speech?”

I see his point but, again, I don’t see Uncle Sam taking away his guns.

“It’s obvious you are an anti-gun reporter,” said one angry P-T reader. “Wise up and report the truth.”

In other words, like with all contentious issues (abortion, religion, politics, etc.), he means his truth, not the truth.



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