The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 9, 2013

Readers' Forum 1-9 | Doubts founders meant assault weapons

— Finish this sentence: “I need an assault weapon because ...”

The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, was adopted in 1791. At that time, firearms were single-shot muskets that took time to load and reload. I don’t believe our Founding Fathers meant for average citizens to have the right to bear assault weapons.

One argument given is, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” With an assault weapon, a person can kill a lot of people in a very short time.

Another argument is, “If you take away assault weapons, only criminals will have them.” So be it. Criminals usually use these guns against each other. How many criminals have gone to a school, shopping center, etc., and killed people?

A third argument is, “If the government takes away my assault weapon, that’s just the start; all my guns will be taken away.”

There are too many hunters and sportsman who would not allow that, nor      would I.

Do we want armed guards in schools to be the new norm for young children?

On the same day of the Newtown tragedy, a man in China went into a school with a knife. None of the 22 children he attacked was killed.

When Australia enacted gun control laws 12 days after a massacre there, the prime minister stated, “We do not want the American disease imported into Australia.”

It’s time for our government to ban assault weapons before any more innocents are killed.

Paula Popp


Christian leaders, churches must step up

I spoke with staff in Rep. Bill Shuster’s office concerning the availability of automatic assault weapons.

In the U.S., supposedly through the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association, power through violence is the ruling influence or role model for combating violence. Violence, as a national power tool and influence, permeates to unstable persons who may believe their torments will be resolved if they have and use the most powerful weapons available to them.

At the same time, in this country we are expected to believe (pledge) our nation is under God as being synonymous with the nonviolent Christ.

I questioned Shuster’s leadership and (any other politicians’) commitment to the NRA as opposed to pledging allegiance to our country under the nonviolent, transforming behaviors of Christ and in which we are encouraged to have faith.

Congressional representatives are vulnerable to the public response of their constituents. Given the understanding that religions have privileges and authority for the spiritual leadership of our nation, where is their voice locally?

I wonder how the religious community as a whole and individual Christian churches are responding to the need to denounce all violence by symbolically advocating renewal of the ban on assault weapons? Imagine the impressionable impact Christian leaders and congregations could have if they used their power and influence to denounce all violence.

Etta Albright


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