The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

December 27, 2012

Readers' Forum 12-27 | Gun-free zones have been easy targets

— Almost all states have handgun carry permits, allowing law-abiding citizens to possess self-defense weapons outside the home. Every time the issue came before a state legislature, antigun propagandists warned that the result would be wild shoot-outs and blood in the streets.

How ironic. There is carnage, but it tends to happen in precisely those places

– notably schools and college campuses – where the permits are not honored. Yet once again, antigun pressure groups and their media mouthpieces rush forward to blame a mass shooting on our right to bear arms.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants another “assault weapons” ban, ignoring the fact that the previous ban, in force for 10 years, had zero effect on violent crime. Our own Sen. Bob Casey, safely re-elected, flip-flops and says he’ll vote for it. President Obama sees an opportunity to weaken the influence of gun-rights groups.

We don’t need more political gamesmanship. There is no simple solution to violent crime, but there is a straightforward, common-sense measure that would make our schools less vulnerable.

The only reason that a killer could systematically murder two dozen people at a school – even stopping to reload – is that there was no teacher, no administrator, no secretary, no janitor who possessed an effective weapon with which to stop him.

It is time to drop the dangerous fantasy of gun-free zones. Allow law-abiding adults who work in schools and colleges, who have state-issued carry permits, to possess their defense weapons on the job.

Allan Walstad

Johnstown

Time to accept limits on weapons possession

The slaughter of 20 children and their teachers in Newtown, Conn., should give us all pause. As a sportsman, I have no problem with hunting and guns. As a citizen, I have a real problem with permitting people to possess and use weapons clearly designed for war. Such was the weapon employed in the Newtown massacre. We all accept limits on our freedoms in order to ensure public safety and order. Why can we not accept limits on gun possession for the exact same reason?

I served as a teacher and high school principal for more than 40 years. During that time, I disarmed two young men who possessed knives that they clearly intended to use on other students. What would have happened if they were equipped with high-capacity pistols? Yes, the school did have security officers and safety procedures.

I believe that any reasonable person would accept a ban on high-capacity magazines, assault rifles, armor piercing bullets and inclusion of gun shows in the background check/waiting period requirement. We could still hunt, defend our homes, target practice and limit access to extremely lethal weapons for the unstable and criminal.

There were 9,906 persons killed by guns in the United States in 2010 and 906 persons were killed by guns in the nations of Germany, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Spain and the Netherlands in 2009 and 2010 combined. Who is safer and how far do we take individualism at the expense of the rest of society?

Terence Doran

Central City

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