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Letter to Isakson, Perdue and Ferguson

Gentlemen,

Once again a mass killing has put gun control at the top of our nation’s political agenda. Once again there is a national outpouring of grief and sorrow over the insane shooting of innocents.  Once again the focal point of debate is gun control and the NRA.  Once again, I suspect, this momentary tidal wave of emotion will recede and calmer waters will return, until, with the same degree of certainty as the ebb and flood of the tide itself, the next wave occurs.  You can bet on it.  It’s not a question of if, only when and where.  As someone has said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If we continue the skillful neglect of this issue, then it is we who are insane.

I am a gun owner who does not belong to the NRA, so I come to this issue not as an extremist but as an “alt centrist,” if you will. I don’t want to have guns confiscated. I do want the mass killings to stop.

I think it would be good for us as a nation to keep our eye on the ball here, and the “ball” is mass shootings, which is a different problem from guns used in, say, armed robberies or inner-city gang homicides or domestic shootings or self-inflicted shootings, either intentional or accidental. The gun issue is a multifactorial one which will not yield to one sweeping piece of legislation. Rather, it will require different approaches tailored to each of the differing problems. That said, surely we can all agree that measures should be taken to bring mass shootings to a halt.  The perpetrators of these atrocious acts would seem to be, at least temporarily, mentally unbalanced, and, unquestionably, armed to the teeth.

I fail to understand why any civilian needs to possess weapons with the continuous firepower of those used in the recent mass shootings.  Someone is going to have to explain to me why any law abiding citizen needs to own multiple high capacity clips and multiple magazines. To what end?  Certainly not hunting.  Certainly not target practice or competition. The only reasons I can think of involve doing bad things.

So, without limiting gun ownership at all, why not try to limit their continuous firepower?  Place controls on the number of clips and magazines one can own, and on their capacity.  We already limit shotguns to three shells plus a plug.  We already proscribe ownership of automatic weapons.  As for the other part of the problem, the mental derangement of the perpetrators themselves, we should improve background checks. I fail to understand why such checks are deemed unnecessary at gun shows. Beyond that, I know there are difficulties. Mental derangement can first appear long after the purchase of a weapon; so addressing that issue gets us into murky territory.

The first responsibility of government is the protection of the public. We, the public here in Georgia and Troup County, look to you, our elected leaders, to stand up and step forward to address this recurring public menace and national nightmare.

Consider for a moment all the collective energy and national treasure we expend countering threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea and ISIS, not one of which has thus far shot dead a single American school child.

So, let’s all get our eyes on the ball.  Act now to curtail and end the insanity of mass shootings.

JIM KILLEBREW
LaGrange