NRA is about commerce, not compassion

To the editor:

I’m sure I’m not the first to write regarding the recent congressional vote on background checks for weapons purchases, nor will I be the last, but one obvious question simply won’t go away: How, by any distortion of logic and common sense, can a reasonably thorough background check do any disservice to efforts to address random killings of the kind that have occurred recently? Gun rights advocates argue civil liberties and the fear of an aggressive government that is plotting to usurp those liberties, but the truth is much less complicated and easy to understand: commerce wed to politics and sales supplanting values.

This slide to commerce in weapons began when the Civil War ended. What to do with all those guns and the loss of sales for new ones? It was at this point that the National Rifle Association, with a sales strategy of self-protection against both “tramps” and evil government, began to grow. That idea took hold and in only a few years the NRA, whose original objective was only to sharpen an individual’s shooting skills, became the political force that it is today.

Sadly, what many fail to see is that it is commerce rather than compassion that’s at the center of this movement more than one hundred years later. And the most cruel irony: the advocacy by the NRA of the need for yet more guns in the hands of even more people to promote personal safety.



Sequester cuts

To the editor:

In the wake of a terrorist attack, one expects confusion. But our politicians are supposed to be thoughtful. This makes statements by House Democrats following the Boston attack very curious.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., blames security lapses on the sequester, and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., chair of the House Democratic Caucus, cautioned about sequester cuts affecting first responders. Finally, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, claims that sequester cuts are devastating to America’s homeland security, citing the Boston Marathon bombing.

Remember that total federal spending still increases despite the sequester. Congress granted the president the authority to apply sequester reductions as he sees fit. The president has decided where those reductions will be made. If the sequester affects Homeland Security, that’s the president’s choice.

Remember also that the sequester was President Barack Obama’s idea. So to whom should House Democrats be directing their criticisms?



Minimum wage

To the editor:

Raising the minimum wage is only a temporary assist to those earning a minimum wage. President Barack Obama is proposing about a 24 percent increase to the federal minimum wage of $7.25, whereas the COLA for Social Security in 2013 amounted to a whopping 1.7 percent increase. A bit unbalanced?

Two hypothetical scenarios: In one, suppose I employ five people and am about at the limit of what I can afford at the national minimum wage. A 24 percent increase would cost me $8.75 per hour for the five. Therefore, I have to let one employee go, which increases the unemployment rate. That doesn’t help the employee I had to let go.

Further, with one employee short, my production suffers. With less production, my profit suffers. A raise in the minimum wage also raises the poverty level and therefore puts me and anyone who didn’t get a raise closer to the poverty level.

In the second scenario, suppose I don’t let one of my employees go, but instead raise the price of my product to compensate. At a higher price, I sell less of my product. Again, that causes a decrease in my profit, forcing me closer to the poverty level. Also, because I have raised the price of my product, those who purchase my higher-priced product clamor for a raise and probably get it. Thus the price of everything goes up, and the increased minimum wage has been only a temporary improvement to those employed at that increased minimum wage.

When everything has finally shaken out, the only gainer to an increase in the minimum wage is the tax man.

Mr. Obama has no interest in improving the lot of the minimum wage earner. His motive is to bump everyone into a higher tax bracket. In other words, an increase in the minimum wage is a tax increase for most people.



Medical marijuana card

To the editor:

On April 17, you printed a letter from Colin Smith of Las Vegas that contained inaccurate information. Mr. Smith wrote that he had received his medical marijuana card and was disappointed it replaced his driver’s license.

Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles are separate and don’t authorize driving privileges to a person. Furthermore, it doesn’t replace an existing driver’s license or identification card issued by the DMV. A customer may have a driver’s license or identification card in our system in addition to an authorized marijuana registry identification card. This card is unique and stands alone.

Our technicians will request the customer to provide the acceptance letter from the Division of Health and their current driver’s license or ID card so they can retrieve the person’s record within our system.

The marijuana registry card is created in that person’s internal record, but it is separate from their existing license or ID card.

If Mr. Smith’s driver’s license is still valid, then he should continue to use this as his form of identification and not the marijuana registry card.



The writer is a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.