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Letter: Westfield Resident Urges Congressman Lance to Help End Gun Violence

The following letter was sent to Congressman Leonard Lance.

Last year guns killed 48 people in Japan, 8 in Great Britain, 34 in Switzerland, 21 in Sweden and over 11,000 in the United States. We spend billions on security threats abroad, but do little to improve the security from assault weapons and handguns that have killed over 30,000  people in 2012.

When is enough, enough? The NRA will not be providing a pamphlet to assist our schools how to talk to children after this bloodbath. The right to bear arms is not more important than a child's right to grow up. I urge you sir, as you claim to be a moderate, to represent us and be a true leader and work with the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence and make changes. Sensible change in our nations guns laws are long overdue.

America is better than this.

Mitch Slater
Westfield, New Jersey

Keith December 16, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Good analysis Kevin. I have a hard time with political opportunism and in turn victimizing the families for a second time. Let these people grieve in peace. Not every problem has an answer you can legislate. Drunk driving improvements have been by education not legislation.
mrsp December 17, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Arm children, Suzanne? Really? I truly hope that you were being sarcastic. While I personally believe that we as a country are doomed if we continue to allow the proliferation of weapon ownership, the best that I can hope for is that firearms only be licensed to responsible mature adults. And Paulie, teachers have one job...to teach. Police are to protect and defend, parents to raise children who understand the value of diplomacy, negotiation and the fine art of compromise, and elected representatives who will pass and enforce more comprehensive effective gun control laws and ENFORCE THE PEACE.
A.John Blake December 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM
To Kevin M. No one can legislate safety wherein everyone will be safe. There is a place for guns for sport, hunting and self defense. That does not mean that the public should have access to assault weapons. Can anyone defend the use of an assault weapon in hunting? Where is the sport in killing an animal with an assault weapon? The purpose of a knife is to act as a sharp tool for cutting. When man alters this to become a weapon against another, it is man who changes the intended use. The same thing with an auto in the hands of a drunk. What is the intended use of an assault weapon? What is the intended use of bullets meant to pierce the vests worn by police?Where are they defensive? Please answer how society can ban the switchblade but should not ban the possession of assault weapons? No law can keep all firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill but if assault weapons were removed from public ownership, the damage that would be possible by the sick or the evil would be less. I do not advocate abolishing the right to bear arms. I question the right of the public to own weapons of war designed to deliver the greatest killing power in the least time. When you get into these categories, you leave the area of defense and enter the category of aggression. A.John Blake
Ricky L. December 17, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I see a need for common sense improvements to current gun laws, while respecting constitutional rights for hunting and self-defense purposes. But Mitch (and Mr. Blake), shouldn't one also consider the mind-numbing and conscious-numbing affects of horrifically violent shooter video games (the Connecticut shooter, as many of the previous mass-killers - Virginia Tech and Columbine, to name two, was a "gamer"), or the equally-horrifically violent movies and gangsta rap songs that Hollywood and the so-called entertainment industry is inundating our kids with, while hiding behind first-amendment rights? Do your kids or their friends routinely massacre video-game humans for entertainment? This must contribute to some degree to the ease many killers have in destroying real lives. What leads these people to commit these heinous crimes? Hollywood et al shares responsibility and blame as well.
A.John Blake December 17, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Sir/Madam, You are probably correct that such games might numb the senses of the actor.First amendment defenders will defend the creators of these games in the same way the gun lobby will defend the Second Amendment. However, unlike you, they will not agree to common sense changes. No one writes back to say why assault weapons should be protected or armor piercing bullets sold.The silence is amazing. A.John Blake
RN December 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I agree with you Mr Slater. This has to stop. meanwhile, schools have to increase their security. As a mother it now terrifies me to send my child to school. If that gunman could break open a glass door with his assault weapons, how are our kids safe? Arent the doors the same?
NJD December 17, 2012 at 05:13 PM
When you show us documentation of 10,000 Swiffer deaths a year I will be happy to register it!
South Westfielder December 17, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I am in full support of the second amendment, however, the extent to which these arms have evolved into something far greater and unnecessary makes it obvious that something has to change - this cannot be what the nation's founders wanted. We do not need arms to protect us from children or the elderly. We do not need automatic or semi-automatic weapons for personal use. Anyone who uses a semi-automatic rifle to shoot deer is not a sportsman. I understand that the guns used in this case were legally purchased (as far as we know). I wish we could ensure that the guns would never leave the hands of the responsible gun owner, but the reality is that they are lost or stolen. Reduce the supply and it will make it more difficult to steal or lose them. We have hit a watershed moment and as Obama said - things must change.
A.John Blake December 18, 2012 at 01:34 AM
When someone breaks into a house and has the choice of stealing a diamond or a firearm, the latter is more desirable. The diamond is sold to a fence for about 10% of its value. The firearm is sold on the black market for more than its store value. How many gun owners protect their weapons as tightly as they protect the family jewelry? A.John Blake
Kevin M December 18, 2012 at 04:37 AM
to A John Blake I don't think you understand the guns laws in regards to what you consider "automatic and assault weapons". The rifle you are talking about is used for varmit hunting and deer hunting in other states. It is also a self defense and target rifle. In Nj you cannot hunt with one. In other states you can. You cannot get armor piercing bullets and they are outlawed unless you are police and can prove it. I haven't been silent I just think you should look into this more on your own. Start at evannappen.com for NJ laws. I agree with you when a person alters what a car, switchblade and assault rifle are used for. I just want to point out that you and the media call these rifles "assault". The manufactures and the millitary call them "semi-automatic". An assault rifle is fully automatic. Please see Frank's post. I also stated that edged weapons not just switchblades are illegal. I agree with you on the word "intent". If you work as a stock boy a box cutter is legal to use while doing your job only. (Continued)
Kevin M December 18, 2012 at 04:38 AM
to A John Blake Didn't a lunatic just stab 22 people in China? I agree "intent to kill" -now if you removed "assault" weapons, semi's and potato guns- is that less damage when 22 people are dead? How about five people? More people die from knife wounds than gunshots in this country. You are wrong about guns on the black market you can buy them alot cheaper and quicker than a legal firearm. What is the intended use? The rifle is used for hunting, targets and self defence-intended use. I ask you why can your car go 140 mph? How do you feel about the tragedy becoming politicized? I agree you cannot legislate everything to keep everyone safe but how about a debate on the problem which isn't a quick answer than "take away the second amendment" which is where this looks to be heading. I will respond to your posts late tommorrow.
Frank Nietzky December 18, 2012 at 06:29 AM
to A John Blake: http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?id=1735
A.John Blake December 18, 2012 at 11:20 AM
To Kevin M, While I knew the difference between semi and automatic, my knowledge of firearms is minimal. The News just stated that the Bushmaster could fire 42 rounds per minute. Is that needed for hunting or target shooting?To defend one's self, is it reasonable to believe you would need that much firepower? I agree my car can go much faster than I am willing to drive it. It's purpose can be perverted to cause havoc. The purpose of a firearm is to kill. Target practice is a good habit of an owner so he will hit his target. Hunting is a good sport or necessary means of supplying food. The purpose of a firearm is to kill the target. I don't agree with politicizing this question. I know a number of members of both parties who dislike the ability of the public to buy certain weapons and ammunition. Because we must deal with different peoples in different cultures throughout the country, the laws must be uniform. You cannot allow one state to sell armor piercing bullets while others ban them. We will not solve these problems here but I certainly would love to hear Mr. Lance tell us what he personally thinks as opposed to the NRA's position paper. A.John Blake
A.John Blake December 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Mr.Nietzky, Thank you for the reference.I do not oppose private ownership of guns. I do not understand why anyone would need a weapon that fires 42 rounds per minute. Your article points out the costs to society of the misuse of alcohol. There are numerous things that can be misused, a car, a baseball bat, some types of glue.Man will always be able to invent new ways of using things whether for good or bad. What is the purpose of a rifle that can fire 42 rounds per minute? What is the purpose of armor piercing bullets? Why should the public own weapons designed for war? A.John Blake
kevin M December 19, 2012 at 02:33 PM
To A.John Blake I have answered these questions before in previous posts. I agree your knowledge of laws, hunting and target shooting is very minimal. I just ask you to get informed and then make a decision. So you want to ban the shooting sports-target? Please google " 3 gun competition". You don't know the laws so why do you think they isn't uniformity? Please do some research. Where can you purchase "cop killer" bullets in the US? Research the hunting regs on any state. If your life is on the line how many bullets/firepower does John need? In rural ares? Is more than a minute police reponse time equal to eternity? What if it is half an hour in rural areas? What do you need then? Do you even know about competitive shooting sports? Research this and you will find answers to your magazine capacity questions. 42 a minute 140mph. My original post was about getting kids mental health help. You have not commented on this - why?
A.John Blake December 20, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Kevin M, When did I say I wanted to ban shooting sports targets?The problem is certainly not an easy one to solve. When you add into the mess concerning guns the problem of easy access by a mentally ill young person, it is probably impossible to solve. There is no doubt that the firepower of the shooter allowed at least some of the children to have no escape. Some had eleven bullets in them. The purpose of the Second Amendment was to preserve to the citizen the right to have a well regulated militia. I can have no argument with properly arming a militia. As minimal as it may be, the citizen must be able to repulse an attack from a foreign power. At the time that ranged from European powers to Native Americans attacking settlers. Times and weapons have changed. A well regulated militia does not abolish sport target shooting. It might regulate the type of arms which can be used.Whatever occurs, we cannot have fifty sets of laws. There should be uniformity. If a person is banned from purchase in one state, he should be barred in all states. Response time for police might be longer in rural areas, but what does their response time have to do with a gun shooting 42 bullets in a minute. I am not saying all guns should be removed. I do think that civilians do not need weapons of war which depend on increasing firepower. A.John Blake
Lori Bennett December 21, 2012 at 03:34 AM
We should use this letter to petition his office. I may take it a step further and add, Mitch Slater sent this letter to you and I agree. We ARE NOT powerless and WE can do better. 20 slain children and now we're finally talking seriously about better gun control, REALLY? Is the NRA who you want to be supporting now? I have a 6-year old little girl, every day since Friday I send her into the elementary school wondering how safe she really is. Does our government want more blood on their hands? The people of this country are crying out for help and protection - PLEASE listen and do the right thing.
Kevin M December 21, 2012 at 06:16 AM
To A John Blake I agree we should be finding a solution to get all youth help depressed/bipolar/suicide and this would better benefit society. All people that own an “ Xbox” or “guns” don’t go off the deep end. I have not seen the police timeline to comment on how this guy got access to these weapons. The press coverage has gotten too many facts wrong in their coverage where one wonders if they have an agenda. This guy was sick/evil in regards to your comment on eleven bullet wounds. You said you wanted to ban the shooting sports because of the capacity/firepower of the weapon. You need to know the laws and restrictions already in place. That way you know what is common and "uniform". The last Brady ban made "red rider" BB guns assault weapons and that is a fact. Is that common sense? The brady ban affected capacity to defend your self with handguns. You have a right to defend yourself.
Kevin M December 21, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Then the brady campaign went after an ammo ban which affected waterfowl hunters. Then the brady campaign went after fifty caliber weapons. Sounds great right? What do they hunt with that? What do they use that for? What do they need that for? The media then shows pictures of the Barrett fifty caliber sniper rifle and they ask what do they need that for? This should be sounding familiar to you by now. They are trying to ban shotguns. Yeah really-which are 70 caliber. The hunters groups stopped them; North American Hunter, Safari International, Pheasants forever etc. They haven't stopped trying and reintroduced the bill in the house two more times. You don't have to take my word on it. I gave you some "common sense" on where to find this info in previous posts.
Kevin M December 21, 2012 at 06:17 AM
This is an "assault" on the second amendment because Brady is trying to repeat itself. Your view on the second amendment is narrow and I don’t agree with your stance. Times have not changed and you still need to defend yourself. You need anything that will save your life when you are defending yourself- forty two rounds a minute from violent attacker/s. Good luck if the police haven’t responded within three minutes you may know what “eternity” is. Your home alarm has a minute and a half delay reporting alarms to the authorities. You have a life insurance policy right? Some people have two insurance policies- the right to keep and bear arms. You really don’t know any laws that pertain to guns/hunting/target competition in any state. You don’t know what laws are “uniform”. You think you can buy armor piercing bullets in the US, etc. Just get informed. If you think you are getting informed by the media on guns you are wrong and nieve. I don’t think that is your entire fault given the media bias.
Kevin M December 21, 2012 at 06:17 AM
. If you are trying to take away any constitutional rights or limit them shouldn’t you know the pros/cons “laws” and then make an intellectual decision instead of an emotional one? If you don’t want to defend yourself you want to take away my right to defend myself/compete/hunt? That is “common sense” or selfish? That is what emotional/uniformed “knee jerk” reactions (brady) have done in the past. Joe Biden who is anti second amendment will be heading up the solution for the president. So don’t expect “common sense” in the future (more brady) just an “assault” on the 2nd amendment. The military swears an oath to defend the “constitution” from enemies foreign and domestic. Some of the other posters on this site can debate what the 2nd amendment is with regards to a “well regulated militia” / 42 rounds a minute with you. That is a conversation not a blog. You should be concerned when someone tells you “don’t worry” and “it’s for the children”. I will bet you will hear this from the media and Joe Biden.
Tony Galella December 21, 2012 at 03:00 PM
A.John Blake, I think one of the largest problems with this discussion is that some people become "anti-gun" without spending time and doing some research in firearms and firearms law. I am not currently a gun owner, but am a dad of young children and do support the right of every person to bear arms. (excluding criminals and those with mental issues). I've spent about 4 months this year learning about firearms as well as the NJ laws as they pertain to gun ownership. The anti-gun people consistently give false, misleading, or incorrect information. One example is discussing the evil appearing "assault-rifle" (a misnomer as others have discussed) Another example would be talking about the evil rate of fire of these guns....42 rpm.... This number is taken out of context and sounds "scary". A basic Glock handgun (which is arguably the most purchased first-time gun owners gun) has a mechanism that fully cycles in 1.43 seconds..This can be translated to an ability to fire 41 rounds per minute...and Glock does make a 33 round clip for the pistol, though large cap magazines are not legal in NJ. Tony from Westfield
A.John Blake December 21, 2012 at 04:18 PM
To Kevin M., I do not advocate banning target shooting or sport shooting or hunting. Do I know all the laws concerning guns? No. Is the media biased? Yes. Do you answer questions or merely point out past problems? Just the latter. There is a difference between the caliber needed to project shot at a pheasant and the caliber to project a bullet through a wall. Both projectiles can kill but at least there is an arguable reason for a hunter to own one of them. The "floodgate theory" that any restriction is an attack on the right to bear arms is wrong. I ask for reasonableness in the possession of weapons by civilians. If someone is in imminent danger with no expectation of help by the police, he must do what is necessary to save himself including flight.Whether it is a peashooter or a cannon, if the danger is that imminent,I would suggest that the individual will only be able to get off one or two rounds. Do I have an answer?No. I am however willing to explore. Prior to this incident, the pro-gun advocates considered any restriction an attack on the constitution. We all have freedom of speech, but we also know it is not allowed to cry "Fire" in a crowded theatre. A.JohnBlake
Kevin M December 22, 2012 at 06:26 AM
To A John Blake I have answered your questions and tried to get you to educate yourself (reasonableness) and not take my word on it (explore). You stated your knowledge was minimal. You are wrong in your assumption that pro-gun advocates consider any restriction an attack on the constitution. The "NICS" check was supported by gun owners and other restrictions on ammo which made sense. Criminals and mental ill people should not own guns. My point is if you don't know what the current laws are or the gun control history (past problems/floodgate reference above) so how do you know what is reasonable or common sense for the future laws? In reference to your statement "he must do what is necessary to save himself including flight." Why do you think you should not have the .223 round to defend family/yourself in any rifle (rpm) in the US? You don't have to choose to defend yourself but you have the right to make that decision. All lives are precious.
A.John Blake December 23, 2012 at 01:35 AM
To Kevin M., I don't have all the answers nor am I sufficiently versed in the technicalities to write a law on the subject. I know I am tired of listening to people say that arms invented for wartime should be in the hands of the public. I do not believe the second amendment was ever intended to put such firepower into non-military hands. The evil and insane will always find a way to obtain the weapon they want.Proliferation of these weapons will make it easier.There has to be a middle of the road where legitimate rights to hunting,sports and self protection can be balanced against an escalation of possession. The announcement by the NRA is the type of radical opinion that must be avoided. It will only breed the radicalism of those who seek to abolish the right to bear arms.It was a stupidity borne of the "floodgate" theory that any restriction is an attack on the constitution. Arms in the school. At least they've got chutzpah. A.John Blake
Kevin M December 23, 2012 at 06:50 AM
To A.John Blake The 22 is a small hunting caliber and the US military deems it not to have enough firepower that they are going back towards a 30 caliber hunting round (most common hunting caliber). Now that’s chutzpah. Google the Enhanced Rifle Cartridge Program US military. That’s not the NRA. What you are tired of is, the people you are talking too have it right and you think there is a difference. So you propose a ban on possession of weapons (above), will somehow balance your rights to hunting/self protection/competitive shooting? A ban is not common sense change better mental healthcare for ill people is. Merry Christmas.
A.John Blake December 24, 2012 at 01:10 AM
After reading the "recommendations" of the NRA, it is good to know how few members they have and how few members agree with the radicalism of the "leadership". It is shocking to see how vocal radical minorities can hijack an otherwise reputable organization. A.JohnBlake
Keith December 24, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Sort of the way you hijack the these blogs
Kevin M December 24, 2012 at 01:43 AM
To A.John Blake I don't think you comprehend what posters here have stated and the NRA members/leadership (together) and gun owners don't support a ban of firearms. I don't know why you would infer any conclusion of that sort. That is why this is my last post.
Frank Nietzky January 05, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Hopefully Mr. Blake will not answer this post. Kevin I agree with you 100%. The right to bear arms is our right not a privlage. But we need to be involved in legislative process just like other half is. Folks, it is crucial before you try to introduce a new laws in nj you read a piece of history on this issue. We cannot legislate just based on dark menancing looks of Bushmaster rifle. This rifle is used for self defense, target shooting and hunting. If someone wants to hunt with it why not? It is made out of polymer and 2 lbs lighter than my Benelli supernova. I will defend any gun laws and vote against simplistic incosidered over regulation at all times. Happy new year everyone. We have well written and timeless constitution. Let's protect it

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