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Instead of gun control, ammunition control

To the editor:

Could someone define an assault weapon for me?

I thought it was fully automatic or burst-capable. My .22-caliber target rifle has a thumbhole or pistol-type stock with a bolt action, but it could still be banned as an assault rifle. My pistol holds seven rounds and is a revolver – and it’s semi-automatic. Most sniper rifles are based on hunting rifles. How about an adjustable stock?

We have allowed semi-automatic handguns and rifles, and until someone can give us a definition of an assault rifle that is accurate, we won’t have a working law.

We can’t control the accessibility to guns. Most guns are handed down in families, purchased privately, etc. We can’t control that. One thing that all guns have in common is they all use ammunition – and we monitor Sudafed better than ammunition. If we could trace every round from manufacture to end-user, we would know who bought the bullets for a drive-by or just about any gun crime. The cartridges left in the field by the hunter don’t matter; neither do the cartridges left at a shooting range. Only the unsafe shooter would be concerned.

Marking each cartridge with a barcode wouldn’t be cost prohibitive, and we could find any unsafe shooter.

Mental health is the underlying cause of most, if not all, mass shootings.



Stuffed pork

To the editor:

The “fiscal cliff” compromise resulted in a 10-year tax increase of $610 billion on “the rich” to supposedly reduce the deficit. Then, literally five minutes before the “fiscal cliff” vote and with no time for anyone to review or even read it (typical), our own Sen. Harry Reid tacks on a proposal to spend $61 billion to fund Hurricane Sandy relief, a full year’s worth of deficit-reduction “savings” that will now not go to reducing the deficit.

House Speaker John Boehner said “no” to the rider and was immediately lambasted by some members of both parties and the president for “not caring” about the poor Sandy victims. Surprise! We find out that by some estimates, a full 30 percent of the Sandy relief rider is stuffed with pork (millions for fish hatcheries in Alaska, a new roof for the Smithsonian, a new car for a Cabinet head, etc). Speaker Boehner was the only person in the “system” who showed the courage to do the right thing, subsequently agreeing to a later vote after the Sandy proposal was properly scrutinized.

Who added all this unrelated pork to an “emergency” funding bill? I propose that all funding items on any bill should be labeled with the requestor’s name and position or be automatically struck from the proposal. President Obama was first elected on his promise that all funding bills would be posted on the Internet for everyone to read a minimum of five days before voting on the bill. Well, Mr. President?

We need to remember the promises that got our officials our votes and then compare them against what these hucksters actually do after winning election. Remember that other Barack Obama promise: “Taxes on those making less than $250,000 will not go up one dime?” Watch your next (and subsequent) paychecks.

Then wait for the next round of promises.




To the editor:

The Journal News newspaper in Rockland County, N.Y., set off a storm of protest last week when it published an interactive map showing the addresses of Rockland County and Winchester County homes in which occupants have gun permits. Objections to the publication were pretty much from Republicans. Those in favor were generally Democrats.

This squabble underscores the underlying truth of the adage that the basic difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Democrats love the First Amendment and hate the Second Amendment, while Republicans love the Second Amendment and hate the First.



Failing school system

To the editor:

Now I get it, thanks to Walter Goldstein’s Jan. 5 letter to the editor. For years, I was under the impression that the reasons for the failed public school system were a bloated administrative corps, overpaid and unnecessary “counselors,” a teachers union obsessed with protecting underqualified teachers, the dumbing down of the curriculum, the ascendance of indoctrination over education and a lack of emphasis on the three R’s.

But now I see the real problem with our public schools lies with parents and your editorialists. They’re the weights pulling the scores down, the reason for 50 percent dropout rates and boatloads of functional illiterates being spewed out.

In a classic case of “shoot the messenger,” Mr. Goldstein points the finger at someone pointing out the flaws in a very flawed system and lets those actually responsible off easily.

No, your editorialists share no responsibility for a public school system that has failed in its mission for going on five decades thanks to the progressives. The students deserve better, the parents deserve better and we, the taxpayers, deserve better, and nothing will change until the system does.




To the editor:

Once again the Consumer Electronics Show came back to town, greatly welcomed, and the revenue is very much appreciated.

But why is it called the Consumer Electronics Show when consumers are not allowed to attend?



A 24/7 mental clinic

To the editor:

I applaud Richard Whitley and Tracey Green for dusting off my previous proposals to establish 24/7 mental health urgent care service in Las Vegas. During my five years as director at Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, I submitted several similar requests to the Legislature. However, they were all denied for lack of funds. During this same period of time, the Legislature reduced the budget by $25 million.

Although the state’s fiscal crisis has not significantly improved during this period of time, this proposal can still be implemented without sacrificing the downtown clinic. This clinic was opened several years ago at the request of law enforcement and the courts to provide immediate access to the high-risk, homeless mentally ill who primarily reside in the downtown corridor. It was, in fact, this homeless population that was primarily responsible for occupying our local ERs. Along with an expanded mobile crisis service, the downtown clinic was responsible for reducing the daily ER population of mentally ill from more than 100 to today’s 16.

A simple reorganization of the agency medical staff and reassignment of the mobile crisis team as staff for the 24/7 clinic will accomplish the goal of 24/7 service at a cost significantly less than the $3.25 million requested by Mr. Whitley and Dr. Green. At the same time, the downtown clinic could remain open. Significant problems related to this concept remain to be solved, including inadequate housing for the homeless mentally ill who do not necessarily require incarceration or psychiatric hospitalization to receive treatment. I encourage the Legislature to evaluate not only this proposal but also a comprehensive revision of the state’s funding and approach to the treatment of our mentally ill citizens.



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