Jim Fossel’s column on guns demands a response (“Democrats in Augusta grandstand on guns,” March 4). Democrats grandstanding? Fossel knows that both parties are not monoliths, so why is he doing this? In high school I enjoyed target shooting and was a member of the Rifle Club. I slept with my M-16 in Vietnam’s jungle.

“Common-sense measures” is code for “anything that’s OK with the NRA.” Few would oppose better mental health care. But is it really “practical” to expect the overloaded health care system to prevent abuse of weapons by seriously troubled individuals?

The NRA defines what gun owners — and gun dealers — want as identical with “freedom” — a sacred, untouchable Second Amendment right. Fossel repeats the claim several times that the Democrats seek to abridge the freedoms of law-abiding citizens. He then describes all alternatives to his “common-sense measures” as “rounding up all the firearms in the country.” Really?

Language has been twisted. The “right to bear arms” now includes the right to own lethal add-ons that are not guns. A bump stock is not a gun. A noise suppressor is not a gun. A 30-round magazine is not a gun. Legislating against them is not gun control, except in the warped echo chamber of the NRA and its mouthpieces.

A ban and buyback must be begun to get bump stocks, noise suppressors, and 30-round magazines off the streets. No law-abiding gun owner will be inconvenienced, no constitutional right infringed. No target shooting, hunting, home-protecting, or collecting interest will be affected.

Note to this newspaper: Running this alongside the Cynthia Dill piece (“Congress fiddles while kids die”), with its “blood money” and “weapons of mass destruction,” contributed little to a better public debate. It just made the mud clogging our public life a bit deeper.

Lloyd C. Irland


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