The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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May 2, 2013

Bill Jones | Tragedy in Boston proves what NRA is saying

— Three people were killed and more than 200 injured, some maimed for life, but not a single shot was fired.

The tragedy at the Boston Marathon proved something the National Rifle Association has been saying for years: “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”

To be sure, guns are reliable weapons, and deadly when in the wrong hands. But many other weapons are used by people who want to inflict serious injuries or death on other humans.

But we hear no clamor to outlaw knives, bricks, baseball bats, glass bottles or pressure cookers, which were used in making the bombs exploded in Boston.

There has been no clamor to pass new, meaningless laws, such as we heard following the school shooting in Connecticut. There has been no clamor to ban pressure cookers or pipes that are used in some bombings.

Experience has shown clearly that “feel good legislation” such as new gun-control laws will have little effect on public safety, for very good reasons. For one thing, gun- control laws already on the books are not enforced – not by the federal Department of Justice, state police or local officers.

There are a dozen gun-control laws on the books that are all but ignored. Just one example relates to background checks. It is unlawful for a convicted felon to apply for a background check to buy a firearm, but although hundreds have, virtually none has been arrested and charged.

Only law-abiding citizens observe and pay attention to our gun laws, and they are not the ones who use guns illegally. A criminal does not obey any law. But criminals must rejoice when stricter gun laws are passed because it reduces the chances that a victim will be armed and able to defend himself or herself.

The Boston bombers also proved that background checks do not prevent the truly dangerous from obtaining a weapon. When they wanted another gun they killed a policeman and took his. If there is another criminal or terrorist anywhere who can’t get a weapon in their usual ways he can keep that in mind.

Other than what the various police used, there was no weapon used in the Boston incidents that in any way resembled what the president and Democratic puppets in the Senate choose to call “assault rifles.” What they mean is any gun that looks like a military weapon, regardless of its own characteristics.

One has to believe that those clamoring for new gun-control laws have little idea what they are talking about.

“Assault rifles” has a nice sound to them, even though long guns (rifles and shotguns) are used in only about 2.5 percent of gun deaths in the United States.

Many years ago there was a similar outcry against so-called “Saturday Night Specials,” cheap revolvers that criminals could obtain for $25 to $50. By the time the anti-gun crowd got done kicking it around, they were including quality handguns priced at $600 or more in the term “Saturday Night Specials.” They didn’t know what they were talking about, either.

Another thing the Boston bombings should have taught us is that police have a right to profile Muslims and pay special attention to them. It is unfortunate for the many peaceful Muslims in this country who are good citizens that there is a violent element among members of their faith who believe it is their sacred duty to kill as many of us infidels as possible. Profiling Muslims is a matter of survival for us.

The Boston bombers had been living in the United States for more than a decade before the brothers “discovered” that Allah had a mission for them, a mission of death to the unbelievers. How many other “sleepers” may there be in our country, waiting for the opportunity or inspiration to commit an act of mass terror?

Our law-enforcement officers do a great job trying to protect us in a world that has changed and become more lawless, but they are too few and far apart to guarantee our safety from the criminal element.

We don’t want to see shoot-outs in the streets, but I do believe citizens should be willing and able to defend themselves and their families. If not, they should have no complaints.

For the resident whose family is threatened by an armed intruder, the only kind of gun control that is important is being able to hit what you aim at.

Bill Jones is a retired senior writer for The Tribune-Democrat.


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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