Sensible Background Checks Needed - And Response (4)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I am a a long time resident of Knoxville and am retired with grandchildren. I am concerned that sensible background checks to prevent gun violence is being pushed aside.

Children are the innocent victims of gun violence in too many cases. Since of the Columbine HS shooting 11 years ago, there have been over 32,000 children and teens killed by guns .The Sandy Hook Elementary mass killing just 12 months ago took 20 young children’s lives. 

Tennessee ranks 38th in the US in child deaths from firearms. The average rate in the US is 3.6 child and teen deaths per 100,000 persons a year ,while in Tennessee the rate is 4.3 .This includes homicides, accidents and suicide. Complete prevention of gun violence may be a nearly impossible task but we should not give up. Our children are too precious. Accidents can be prevented with proper education and safety features (trigger locks and gun safes) The costs are little in comparison to the tragic loss of even one child’s life. 

Elected officials have the same polling results we do, and they know that strong support for universal background checks is there among all political party affiliations, even among the NRA members. All dealer and private gun purchases should be subject to back ground checks. 

Congress and Senators, we have had enough. Please leave the assault weapons in the hands of the military and law enforcement, and limit the available size of magazines to what is practical for sporting and self- defense. 

Jermone Thomson
Knoxville 

* * * 

I remember a morning in August, 2008, driving my daughter to 6th grade, and seeing three police cars zing by as we were about to pull onto Broadway. August was so very early in the school year.  Once on Broadway, two more police cars sped by us. I fumble through radio stations for any news of what demanded five police cars. One station mentioned a shooting at Central High School. That was less than three miles from her Whittle Springs Middle School. August was so very early in the school year. 

I stood in the middle school's lobby for an hour after sending my daughter on to classes. I waited patiently for school administrators to give me some news and stood watch over the courtyard of that school. That was a pretty useless gesture, still I remember it quite distinctly. 
Ryan McDonald of Knoxville, age 15, died from that shooting. My strong prayers go to the McDonalds. 

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, a shooting in the neighborhood of Brashear High School in Pittsburgh, was reported as the students left the building at the end of the school day. “Oh, Pennsylvania is pretty far from my home.” Three students were wounded, one in the leg, one shoulder and a bullet grazed the scalp of another. “Oh, then no one died.” Early reports are that the shooting may have involved some drug-related dispute. “Oh, couldn’t happen around here.”
Some might reassure themselves by thinking up how those circumstances are not threatening their own families. My mind, meanwhile, returned to that hour of watching the middle school’s courtyard. How close yesterday and even Aug. 21, 2008 are to us right now. How the schools let out every day, very soon to now. How a graze to the head is so close to being a bullet that would kill. 

Please look around and see what you can do to offer a little more protection and some real assurance for your family and neighborhood. Ask all gun owners to keep their guns locked up, and their ammunition locked away in a different place. Your actions will be useful to saving life and limb and tears. 

From the depths of God’s love,
Ken Libby
Father of two 

* * * 

When society suffers another shooting we hear registration and background checks. What we need to do when offering these solutions is to simply explain how they would have prevented the tragedy.  

One thing that would help people to get a hold on the problem would be the media giving us the status of the gun that was used. Was it legally bought or not, was it stolen? Almost all the people I know have a weapon in their home and none have shot anyone. We just a few days ago honored our veterans and I would bet that over 80 percent own a weapon but are not shooters. 

One of the most dangerous things to the lives of society is the automobile and to make it even worse, besides alcohol we have added the cell phone and talking or texting to the problem. When a life is taken it is a terrible tragedy no matter how it came about. I am reminded of the saying, "If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we always got. We do the same thing over and over expectation a different results. It is not going to happen." 

N.D. Kennedy Sr.
Ooltewah 

* * * 

I've had a background check, got a concealed weapon permit, and don't shoot people. I would venture to guess that in excess of 90 percent of the unlawful shootings are committed by people who couldn't pass a background check.  

Guns are everywhere, yard sales, flea markets and classified ads. Anybody can get a gun, any time anywhere. The biggest deterrent to shootings would be to make every gun related crime a federal offense.  Very few federal charges are plead away and sentences are fulfilled at least 85 percent. 

Our state courts and prisons are clogged up with repeat offenders, often gun related crimes, that the DAs have no choice but to plea down hundreds of charges everyday and hand out suspended sentences to violent offenders. 

Locks are for honest, just like background checks. 

Harry Presley
Chattanooga 

* * * 

It is a federal felony for a prohibited person (convicted felon) to even attempt to purchase a firearm.  Of the millions of firearms purchase background checks conducted, fewer than 1 percent identify an allegedly prohibited person and that number is reduced by 25 percent of rejections which turn out to be in error.  Finally, the scant number of prohibited persons actually prosecuted and sent to prison each year for attempting to buy a firearm couldn’t fill one bus.  When one considers the vast majority of violent gun crimes are committed by offenders with previous felony convictions, it is a no-brainer that the key to reducing violent crimes is to control violent predators and not guns.     

When it comes to abortions, people generally agree that if legal providers were removed, customers would simply obtain abortions through non-approved sources.  Why do we imagine, then, that convicted felons can’t follow the same logic?  If they are unable to buy a firearm through a legitimate source and they want one badly enough, they will obtain firearms through illegal sources.   The sad fact is that background checks are far more likely to result in wrongful violation of one’s 2nd Amendment rights than to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous felons or to remove dangerous felons from our streets. 

Background checks for firearms purchases are a great idea, but they are basically useless unless accompanied by vigorous prosecutions.  Does anyone seriously imagine that rapists or armed robbers will be put out of business because they were denied a firearms purchase at their local gun store?     

Jeff Young
Chattanooga



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