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Will enough ever be enough?
The issue of gun control is once again in the spotlight, as it should be. Americans have been and still are killing each other with firearms at an alarming rate. An average of 96 Americans are shot and killed every day, and more are wounded. There have been more than 15 mass shootings since the tragedy in Parkland. (See everytownresearch.org for more statistics on gun violence.)
So, the conversation is happening, and change is coming. Requiring comprehensive universal background checks is supported by the vast majority of Americans (97 percent according to Quinnipiac poll) and is a reasonable place to begin. Banning bump stocks, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is not the same as “taking away our guns.” Weapons of war are not needed for hunting, target shooting or self-defense.
Those who believe their Second Amendment rights are being usurped by gun regulation are mistaken and overly paranoid. For decades, the powerful NRA lobby (financed by gun manufacturers) has fed this paranoia by offering a distorted interpretation of the Second Amendment. The foundation of their narrative is fear; and that narrative is hopelessly and irrefutably removed from the historical context and intention of the Second Amendment.
Gun regulation simply requires gun sellers and owners to be responsible. Responsibility is the price of all of our freedoms. Gun regulation is not the same as repealing the Second Amendment.
America has the most heavily armed population of all developed countries. This fact makes it obvious that more guns won’t solve our problem of gun homicides. Addressing the mental-health crisis could help (even though statistically the mentally ill are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators), especially if our GOP lawmakers would agree to dedicate adequate funding to this need.
Sadly, our lawmakers seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Recently, the Colorado Senate passed a bill that would allow anyone who legally possesses a handgun to carry that gun anywhere (except in schools). Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, and Rep. Kevin Van Winkle, R-Highlands Ranch, sponsored this bill. Our own Rep. Tim Leonard, R-Evergreen, was a secondary sponsor.
Such legislative efforts fly in the face of not only our Colorado tragedies but in the faces of the thousands who die every year in our nation simply because of inadequate gun regulation.
Those who feel compelled to cling to their guns and their Second Amendment rights may do so. I will continue to believe that my right to not get shot should always trump the right to own a gun.
Janis Dufford

No evidence to prove ‘poor choices’
Mr. Newkirk’s response to the letter to the editor last week was not at all what I had expected. To be clear: it is unusual, but not unprecedented, for a columnist to issue a response to a letter. That being said, as Mr. Newkirk is a frequent contributor to the editorial page of this newspaper, I had expected to see a well-reasoned response to the letter. I was very disappointed.
I had expected Mr. Newkirk to address the statements, specifically that the students had taken these actions on their own. What Mr. Newkirk wrote was a diatribe, not a response. He attempted to justify his opinions without offering any actual evidence.
What we readers expect of a columnist’s response is, at a minimum, to provide some evidence/proof of the allegations the columnist has made. I see none of that. What I see is his reference to some things that are, by and large, poor choices. However, there is no evidence presented to suggest or prove constant, systemic “poor choices” foisted on students to cause them to take these actions.
Mr. Newkirk’s response is a flaccid attempt to discredit the students’ actions without providing any actual evidence. I could use the same technique, referencing other persons on his side of the argument, pointing out their bad behavior to refute his position. I will not do that. It’s too easy.
Mr. Newkirk’s phrasing has also been used on various media sites to discredit student actions these past few weeks. It is clear that Mr. Newkirk has been paying attention to these media outlets. We, the readers, would prefer to hear, in his words, actual evidence. Name the “bad actors.” Specify when this occurred. Show us that these high school students have been somehow coerced into these actions.
We, the readers, deserve at least that much from you. Because, without actual evidence, why should your words be believed?
Bill Horger