It’s the shooter, not the gun, that poses a danger

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To the editor:

As Rahm Emanuel once said “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

It seems as though President Obama and Vice President Biden are heeding that advice with their current efforts to address this “crisis” prompted by the actions of an, apparently, insane individual in Newtown, Conn. One potential problem I see with this, however, is that the focus may not be on what really needs to be addressed.

The problem is not assault weapons, high capacity magazines or the guns themselves. The problem is the person behind the trigger.

Several of my friends own a handgun. Some of them own more than one handgun. Some own assault type rifles and shotguns. Some of them are “licensed to carry.” Not a single one of their guns has ever injured or killed anyone and that is not because the weapon was not capable of doing that, but because the person who owns and carries that weapon is a responsible, sane, law abiding individual.

If anyone thinks reducing the number of rounds in a magazine will make a difference, or, if anyone thinks putting “armed security” in schools will make a difference, they are sadly mistaken and focusing on the wrong thing. The person committed to the senseless violence we witnessed in Newtown, Conn. or Aurora, Colo. doesn’t need an assault rifle to kill. They can do that with several handguns or going where there is no security - another movie theater or the public library. If I were one of those people in that Aurora movie theater, I sure would have wanted one of those sane, licensed-to-carry, law abiding people sitting right next to me.

I support common sense solutions that actually address the problem.

It isn’t the gun, it isn’t the size of the magazine, nor the type of weapon we need to worry about. It is the person who commits these atrocities that we need to concern ourselves with. Some of those people have been on medications. With very little effort, I was able to find 66 murders, assaults or shootings associated with anti-depressants or during withdrawal. Hollywood and video game companies produce some of the most violent pictures imaginable planting the idea that mass murder and slaughter is really cool, easy and fun. Maybe some focus should be placed in these areas.

With all this said, I have another concern with this entire bit of political theater. Is this the important issue of the day that my government needs to be focused on? Considering all the pressing issues facing our country today, do you really think this is a wise use of time? And can someone please get back to me and let me know where in the Constitution it states that our federal government is in the business of telling us what arms “We the people…” are allowed to keep? Let the states deal with this issue. You will only make it worse.

Here are several other suggestions on how our representatives’ time, from the president on down, could be better spent: Develop a plan to secure our border, solve our annual deficit spending problem, institute a plan to pay down our “ballooning debt,” balance the federal budget, revise the federal tax system, and read the bills before you sign them

I am also appalled by the way this government is being run today by “executive order” or “fiat.” I would like to see you, once again, assume your responsibility in finding and legislating these solutions as you were elected to do, instead of relinquishing your duty to the president, the vice president and some panel of so-called experts.

Wayne A. Passe
Lower Township


Editor’s note: This is a copy of a letter sent to Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, and U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo.

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