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Letter: 'Ban These Assault Weapons Once and For All'

Fairfield resident Heather Dean says United States can follow Australia's lead.

Last week I attended the hearing on Gun Violence in Newtown. I didn’t go as an elected official, but as a mother and a teacher. I was compelled to attend because that same week there was a lockdown practice at my daughter's middle school. As recommended by the staff, I let her know so she could be prepared. We talked about it and both agreed that in some cases, like areas prone to natural disasters, where there is often little to no warning, you need to practice “Duck, Cover and Hold On”. Such preparation can save lives from the ravages of Mother Nature. However, no one should have to hold lockdown drills because of a gunman.

One speaker shared statistics showing that since Australia banned assault weapons in 1996, there had not been one mass shooting. Imagine if we could give that same report here in the United States in a few years? Is a revival of talks to ban weapons in Connecticut and America so scary? The way I see it, the Australian government took action without taking away anyone’s right to own firearms; they simply prevented the general public from owning assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

After five hours of testimony, you would think everything that could possibly be said has been, but maybe not. There was one speaker who reminded me again, that we all have a responsibility to take action, to use our words to help stop the violence. Time ran out that evening, leaving many without that chance.

This brings me to my point.

I’m using my words here to endorse the proposals banning assault weapons and the accompanying high capacity magazines. I realize that this is a complex issue with many layers, but we must start somewhere to stop the rising tide of random violence. Not one speaker against assault weapons demanded repealing our second amendment; instead they asked our elected officials to work together and not be influenced by gun lobbies or partisan politics. Ban these assault weapons once and for all. I’m asking that too. Please help make these lockdown practices a thing of the past.

Heather Dean

R. Ludlowe February 09, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Auto-correct update: "since we were apes in the trees"
Sandra February 09, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Australia has steadily restocked guns through imports replacing the million weapons that were destroyed since the massacres. Are their citizens afraid of the 42% increase in violent crimes since their gun ban? http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=10824
Winston Bernard IV February 09, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Banning assault rifles will not put an end to lock downs. sorry.
Sandra February 09, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Heather there seems to be a sense that the Senate will not be able to pass a ban on assault weapons with tough elections and all. What were the safety issues within our grasp you suggested?
rottyfan February 09, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Ban which assault weapons? Like the ones issued to our military that are capable of automatic fire? Oh wait, those are not available to the civilian market. So you must be talking about placing a ban on top of the existing assault weapons ban in Connecticut's books! The definition of an assault weapon is constantly shifting with the gun control crowd. Pretty soon revolvers will be labeled as "assault weapons" when someone realizes you can fire one just as fast as a so-called "assault weapon."
Thomas Paine February 09, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Heather - Maybe you should research Australia further. At the time of the rampage killing that lead to the Aussie disarmament law, about 8% of Aussies owned a firearm and estimates were that there were about 3Million guns in the country. After the law, only about 600,000 firearms were surrendered, about 20%. In the USA today, estimates are a total of 300-320Million civilian firearms are in circulation and owned by about 90Million Americans. It is believed that about 50% of homes have a firearms in them. Of those firearms, estimates are about 8Million are modern sporting rifles that you would like to ban. We are not Australia.
Jlo February 10, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Heather- First off, assault weapons are banned. Second, banning the weapon you are thinking of, the AR-15, a common and popular semi automatic rifle, would do nothing to stop mass murders. The deadliest mass shooting on US soil (Virginia Tech) was carried out with a handgun, in fact almost 2/3rds of the victims killed in US mass shootings were killed with handguns, the rest were with rifles and not all were even AR-15's. Banning the AR platform wouldn't even have a noticeable effect on murders in general, of the 8,000+ firearm murders in the US every year just over 300 are carried out with a rifle, a category including the AR-15 but also many other guns. Banning "assault style weapons" sounds good in theory until you realize that other than the occasional whack job like Adam Lanza these guns are hardly ever used for anything other than target practice or small game hunting. It would also be silly to assume that banning them would have an effect because functionally they are no different or more deadly than any other semi automatic gun on the market. If we want to stop people being killed we need to police our streets better and enforce the laws that are already on the books.
Thomas Paine February 10, 2013 at 03:18 AM
Black rifles had no bearing on the shootings at: Virginia Tech Oikos University Columbine HS Amish School Sihk Temple Gabby Giffords shooting Univ. Texas Clock Tower Hardford Distributors CT Lottery Oklahoma City (no guns involved) Bath Michigan school bombing (no guns involved) I could go on but the point is clear - black rifles are not required for a psychopath to kill or maim massive numbers of innocents. If there is a will, there will be a way. That Australia has not had a mass shooting since their gun ban attempt has more to do with the fact that they did not have a series of such shootings. The rampage that led to the ban was a big outlier, not one in a sickening series. Heather, banning a single implement will not stop mass shootings. To suggest so is either a sign of a frightening naiveté or wishful thinking. I have four kids in our schools and I WANT them protected. Neither a ban on black rifles nor limits on magazines is going to achieve that. Neither will such restrictions have any impact on inner city violence which takes the life of one or two young black men each week. Heather, enjoy the March on Thursday but know what are asking for will not make any effective difference on protecting our children. Thank you.
Thomas Paine February 10, 2013 at 03:42 AM
The only "poll" on gun control that matters - how people are spending their money across the country: http://www.captainsjournal.com/2013/02/08/the-most-accurate-gun-poll-in-america/ Most interesting line sure to enrage the Heathers, RLudlowe, Yinyang, etc: "Gun control is an artifact of self-serving, crusty, old rich white men, angry feminists and effeminate inner city dwellers who have never ridden a horse across a snowy mountain, sat up all night with a dog who has been bitten by a Copperhead, or plowed a row in a garden on a sunny day. You’ll never reach the young people that way." Personally, I still believe that "Gun owners are from Mars and gun control advocates are from Venus". I would argue that gun control is all about control and less about the guns. It is an ideological battle between those who put their faith in the government and its power versus those who put their faith in themselves and their fellow citizens who think government should have a role in our lives, albeit a limited one. "These are times that try men's souls" wrote the real Thomas Paine in December 1776 and he would be just as correct today.
Thomas Paine February 10, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Heather, one other things about bans, technology is already way ahead of them. Even if you were able to remove the 10mm black rifles and 100mm+ "high capacity" (but really standard capacity) magazines from the world, a cottage industry would supply them using the latest in 3D printing technology: http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/163066/ "Meet the “Cuomo.” It’s a new printed magazine for your AR-15 rifle, soon to be available for download, and it holds 30 bullets. Upgrading an earlier design that didn’t hold up particularly well after extended use, it’s an unsubtle rejoinder to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently signed a magazine-restriction law limiting mags to seven rounds. Defense Distributed is basically saying that if you’re not going to be allowed to buy larger magazines in the near future, you can print them yourself — if, that is, 3-D printed weapons don’t fall into legislators’ own crosshairs." Coming to a basement or apartment closet near you.....
Simper Fi February 10, 2013 at 04:05 AM
All of you Anti Gunners need to first understand what a Assault rifle is and why u'd need 30rd mags. As a Sniper in the U.S.M.C who has served 2 tours in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan i can tell you that a 5.56 Assault Rifle w/30rd mag is no more deadly then the bolt action you own. I myself prefer the elegance of the bolt action. I shoot a M40 (im sure you already knew that) bolt action rifle which i can castrate a fly at 1,000 meters. With that being said in batlle my fellow brothers are using ACTUAL ASSAULT RIFLES (not semi-auto AR-15's) to fight, and after 2 hours of men shooting one another who do u think racks up the most kills? simple answer, ME. Alot more then my brothers using everything u belive is more deadly. I take no Pride or Honor for what i do and have done and that will haunt me for the rest of my life. even more then the 12 Friends i watched die through my scope. These friends died to protect your rights, u should think more about the person behind the rifle. So when it its all said and done i can tell you GUNS DONT KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE.
Thomas Paine February 10, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Thank you Sir for your service! Sadly, Whitman had similar experience which is why he chose a standard hunting bolt gun (Rem 700?) to take up to the University of Texas Clock Tower. He did not need a faux "assault weapon" nor even a semi-auto to kill nearly a score and wound many more. Too much focus on the implement and not enough focused on the motivations, the creation of these psyco/sociopaths and how society might interdict their plans before they are launched. Thank you again Marine for your service and your real-world contribution here!
Concerned Parent & Gun Owner February 10, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Heather - I spent that day in Hartford as well, listening to all of the testimony up until about 11:30pm so I heard it all. Many speakers resonated with me that day, especially the parents of those kids who did not walk out of school on 14Dec. As a parent, my primary reason for being there was to give voice to the futility of rifle and magazine bans as a means to a desired end, preventing future rampage shootings. Sadly, folks like CT Against Gun Violence, March for Change and 1MMfGC are ideologically focused on certain firearms and will not be diverted from that mission. Irrespective of whether such laws have been proven ineffectual since their introduction in California in the mid-1980s and that rampage killings have happened in "controlled" environments. Sadly, this unshakable ideology makes the banners seemingly incapable of absorbing new information or facts that are in consistent with the doggedly held views. A perfect example from the Hartford testimony was delivered by a professional forensic specialist whose government job includes investigating the detils of shootings. In his testimony he provided facts as to how INFREQUENTLY the 223 firearms round (used in most black rifles) is actually used in ANY crimes. He goes on to discuss how infrequently shootings involved high numbers of discharged rounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaS2zM9rc1w So how effective would a ban on something that is infrequently used really be? And will bans make kids safer?
Thomas Paine February 10, 2013 at 11:54 PM
A different view from two young women: http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/338418
Sandra February 11, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Heather can we agree that something needs to be done about these drugs that are ruining our children? Answers like "we should do deal with mental health issues as best we can" is a cop out. We need to stand together against these drug companies and question our doctors who so easily prescribe these powerful drugs. We worry about their education and feed them organic foods and are so easily pushed into giving our children these drugs. We never had so many guns? We never had millions of people taking homicidal/suicidal drugs for every ailment. http://www.cchrint.org/2012/07/20/the-aurora-colorado-tragedy-another-senseless-shooting-another-psychotropic-drug/ http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20088652-10391704.html http://www.mommypotamus.com/antidepressants-and-school-shootings-what-every-parent-needs-to-know/
Triston Dyer February 11, 2013 at 06:29 AM
There are 300 million guns in the hands of citizens in our country. Obama's ban ideas are no more than smoke & mirrors and will accomplish nothing. If you really want to do something to keep our children from harm, work toward ending the 1.2 million abortions in our country each year. It's a holocaust.
Sandra February 11, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Tristan have you read this http://fairfield.patch.com/articles/bearing-witness-at-the-gun-violence-hearing-6618fcf2 I’d love to see the fringe right as well clamoring for ways to end the killing of inner-city, mostly minority youth due to gun violence, the same way they clamor for ‘unborn children.’ In the same way they line up outside abortion clinics and protest funding for Planned Parenthood using imagery of aborted fetuses, I’d like to see them holding signs showing what the murdered children of Sandy Hook looked like." Those who care about the 55 million aborted children are in the "fringe right" and Heather implies we don't care about those murdered by criminals in inner city neighborhoods. Can I assume Heather has ever even driven through an inner city neighborhood? The majority of people are now pro-life probably because science and technology hold up pictures of fetuses of a baby who feels pain while in the womb.
Thomas Paine February 11, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Sandra - This was written partially with you in mind, but not knowing if you are actually a gun owner/shooter or not: http://wilton.patch.com/blog_posts/rising-voice-of-gun-ownership-is-female-ny-times
Leah Hodgson February 11, 2013 at 08:50 PM
I agree, this is not Australia or Europe but it is arrogant to say the US could not learn from other countries. After the shooting in Dunblane and mass petition and demonstrations for sticter gun laws, stricter laws were successfully enforced. the UK has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world with 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 compared to the United States' 3.0 (over 40 times higher Whilst living there my children did not have to participate in lock down procedure at school, the police went about there duties with no fire arms. My point other countries exist in a civilised manner without guns I agree with less guns = less gun crimes. Not a genius equation. A fight that will be hard to win definitely, but for the sake of my children and their freedom from gun culture I will never give up!
Thomas Paine February 11, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Leah - Welcome to the discussion. I suggest you go back and review the history of mass rampage killings in Australia to learn that they were few and far between. It was not an EPIDEMIC as it is here in the USA. Thus, their being able to collect 20% of the civilian firearms had an impact, so far. I suggest you also review the aggravated assault rates in the UK since their gun confiscation occurred. They are 4X as likely to be involved in an aggravated assault as the average American. Also, UK police are increasingly carrying firearms because they are being outgunned by both professional criminals and street thugs. Also, I would argue that the fact that Bobbies are unarmed is one major reason why they can not patrol in certain ethnic neighborhoods which is not something we need here. Then I suggest you go back and review why many square blocks of London and other UK cities burned two summers back. The rioters there felt no fear from civilian nor police reprisals so they ran amok and burned countless apartments and businesses. Contrast that to why the Korean district in LA did not burn during the riots that followed the Rodney King riots. As for guns in the USA, CAGV asserts that 85% of gun crime/violence is committed with handguns that are illegally possessed and used. How will the current calls for black rifle bans and magazine capacity limits address the almost ignored injuries and deaths in our inner cities. As for the gun culture, how about entertainment?
Leah Hodgson February 11, 2013 at 10:32 PM
We could throw stats around differing kinds of crime, like there are 58% more homicides committed by young people in the US per capita than the UK this has nothing to do with guns (or maybe it does)! The glorification of guns in this country has led to a situation where small children have to go on lock down procedure in their elementary class rooms, worried about the bad gun men every where they go, This makes you proud? The disgrace is society turning their back on their children feeding, them mind altering drugs to cure conditions from a young age.. and notion that "I have the devine right to bear arms", plenty of other countries don't believe in this right and they are managing to have less mass shootings and homicides than here. my point was we could learn from them rather than being so insular. I will never believe in the average person who does not participate in formal sports or genuine hunting, needing a gun. I have to remain true to my heart on that.
Thomas Paine February 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Leah: You said "I will never believe in the average person who does not participate in formal sports or genuine hunting, needing a gun." But in that statement, you seem to miss the entire point of not only the federal Second Amendment but especially Article 1, Section 15 of the Connecticut state constitution - bearing arms for self-defense. Neither has anything to do with hunting nor the shooting sports - they have everything to do with self-defense. Other rationales for owning firearms are secondary to that primary mission - defending one's self. Now, if you feel that in our current society there is no need for self-defense firearms, I will have a tough time convincing you otherwise. However, two studies suggest that the number of times that armed citizens interrupt or prevent crimes is 112,000 (gun control researcher) to 800,000 times (pro gun-rights researchers) PER YEAR. While you may have been blessed without ever having been at risk, tens of thousands of Americans are not as fortunate each year. If you are truly open-minded, please read this post on CT home invasions: http://wilton.patch.com/blog_posts/home-invasions-rarely-happen-in-connecticut-not? And if you further interested, I can highly recommend this analysis on the intersection between armed civilians and violent crime: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/WP-Tough-Targets.pdf Let's address illegal street guns. Let's address mental health. Let's address violence in culture.
Brendan Grimestad February 12, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Australia is a poor example for America to try to emulate with regards to gun policy. 96% of Australians are CITY DWELLERS. Not many of them are Crocodile Dundee, or even close to it. Imagine Chicago and NYC (whose combined populations are about equivalent to Australia's) surrounded by thousands of miles of wilderness with almost nobody living in it (and all that surrounded by water) and you've got the "Land of Oz" pretty well pegged. It's basically a bigger, emptier version of Britain! Culturally, they don't have a "South" or a "West"; or "red states", or a large proportion of the population being gun rights-cherishing small town and rural folk like the US does. Hence, gun control went down fairly easy with most Aussies. Trying to compare Australia to the USA is like comparing England with the US; the social realities are non-comparable in both cases. (Throw in that pesky written Constitution with its Second Amendment, and it really becomes a case of comparing apples and oranges.)
Thomas Paine February 12, 2013 at 02:43 AM
Brendan - Great points. And then there is this aspect of their nanny statism: http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-02-10/australian-officials-take-germophobia-too-far-try-to-ban-kids-from-blowing-out-birthday-candles/#more-3172036
commonsense727 February 12, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Heather, You are brainwashed and conditioned. wake up and use common sense. Assault weapons are already restricted under the machine gun act. There has never been a mass shooting with an actual assault rifle ever. The wording is media political propaganda to confuse people like you with cosmetics. magazines are just a box and spring. You can ban them but millions exist and take a few minutes to make. Over seas restrictive gun measures made violent crime skyrocket. Our crime has been down 50 percent since the assault ban was lifted in 2004. You are completely letting outside influence manipulate your thinking on an absolute level. We banned certain drugs. such created cartels, gangs, increased organized crime and more. Profit will motivate bad people quick. What in your head tell you that if we create more laws, most of which are not even enforced.. that criminals will obey laws? I have some simple common sense for you .. murder is against the law big time.. these people did not care, so they dont care about killing people why would they care about a lesser offense? Criminals can get a gun with ease in any area. chicago ny nj and la all have very very restrictive gun laws and gang violence is off the charts.. why would that be? most of these killers were on psychotropic pills also. billions of dollars profit problem. People poison their kids minds with toxic drugs w disclaimers will cause violent suicidal tendencies. other countries parents do not use such harmful chemicals.
commonsense727 February 12, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Heather, You are brainwashed and conditioned. wake up and use common sense. Assault weapons are already restricted under the machine gun act. There has never been a mass shooting with an actual assault rifle ever. The wording is media political propaganda to confuse people like you with cosmetics. magazines are just a box and spring. You can ban them but millions exist and take a few minutes to make. Over seas restrictive gun measures made violent crime skyrocket. Our crime has been down 50 percent since the assault ban was lifted in 2004. You are completely letting outside influence manipulate your thinking on an absolute level. We banned certain drugs. such created cartels, gangs, increased organized crime and more. Profit will motivate bad people quick. What in your head tell you that if we create more laws, most of which are not even enforced.. that criminals will obey laws? I have some simple common sense for you .. murder is against the law big time.. these people did not care, so they dont care about killing people why would they care about a lesser offense? Criminals can get a guns with ease in any area. chicago ny nj and La all have very very restrictive gun laws and gang violence is off the charts.. why would that be? most of these killers were on psychotropic pills also. billions of dollars profit problem. People poison their kids minds with toxic drugs w disclaimers will cause violent suicidal tendencies. other countries parents do not use such harmful chemicals.
commonsense727 February 12, 2013 at 02:21 PM
...continued if guns were such a problem, how come there arent the mass shootings at gun shows, gun ranges or gun shops? These mass shootings happen at gun free zones.. that is because bad crazy people know they can inflict the maximum amount of carnage in the least amount of time with the least amount of resistance. Is it such a bad idea to start being responsible parents. is it safe to say some people are bad parents? Some parents stick their kids in front of tvs video games, look for free hand outs and go out ignoring their kids. when the kid shows desire for attention, the parents these days say oh no im not spending quality time with my kids im putting them on the brain damaging high risk drugs instead and keeping them in a rewired state of mind. i dont have time for this parent stuff, i have more to go out and buy. i have to be a dedicated consumer. no time for family. why dont we focus on the actual problems and not disassembling the constitution. if you really believe australia is that much better than the usa, I have one simple question. what are you doing here still? you care that much about your kids, pack up and head out if its that much better. You dont know that, of course. you are just blindly assuming. my family and I and my kids all grew up around firearms. never one issue. we all believe in doing whats best for each other not being self motivated and self centered. Is there a problem in our society? yes, absolutely. but lets see the big picture first.
Concerned Parent & Gun Owner February 12, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Heather: For an example of how ineffective a ban on black rifles would be on mass murders, please see this research report from the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research (OLR). This report, completed by a senior member of OLR, opens: "You asked for a list of the weapons that have been used in mass shootings in the United States since the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999. We have identified at least 49 mass shootings in the United States since the Columbine shooting. These are incidents where two or more people were killed, not counting the perpetrator." I wonder what the requestor thought of this list the weapons used in national mass shootings. Of the 49 listed events, the following is clear: - Exactly ZERO included "assault weapons" in the proper definition of a weapon capable of full auto fire. - Eight (8) of 49 (16%) listed a firearm that would be considered a "black rifle" by my definition - either an Armalite Rifle (AR) or a Kalishnikov (AK) style weapon. - Of those eight, four (8%) were AK-47s which are already prohibit by law in CT. The report can be found here: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0057.htm What the report does not point out is that the Columbine attack used weapons NOT banned under the federal AWB. It also fails to mention magazine capacities use in those attacks. For those interesting in more firearms-related OLR reports: http://www.cga.ct.gov/olr/FocusAreas.asp?sWhich=Firearms
Thomas Paine February 15, 2013 at 09:56 PM
http://wilton.patch.com/blog_posts/mass-shooting-weapons-are-not-typically-black-rifles-nor-any-rifle
Emmanuel Olukpo May 27, 2013 at 05:23 AM
It is a welcome articulation, exciting, an excellent creativity. It is novel and educative. Link up to University of Nigeria, Nsukka website for similar write up. http://www.unn.edu.ng Commander,E.O. UNN.

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