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Published: Friday, July 27 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

George W Bush said he would be happy to sign a re-authorization of the assault weapons ban. Mitt Romney also supported it at the time, although he has certainly reversed himself on that position by now (surprise, surprise, surprise).

My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT

What is there to discuss? There can be no gun controls, we have to live with these tragedies and do something about the causes of people going crazy for economic despair.

This tragedy and many other previous tragedy's are directly related to the economy, foreign invitationals occupation, and forced in to a life of poverty. Just as in all 3rd world countries poverty and despair make people do desperate things, even assault their friends and neighbors.

Our forefathers were wise to acknowledge the despair that an oppressive governemnt can place on a people so this is why we have this right to own guns and defend ourselves from oppression and anarchy in government.

If there is to be a discussion, let it be about rights and oppression and despair.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

We should start by looking at the absence of gun deaths in Canada, and start working towards a Canadian model of gun control. They are a much safer country because of their firearm restrictions. And while we're at it maybe we should take a look at their health care system!

Mike in Texas
Cedar City, Utah

The NRA never rests, and this article is just one more evidence of that fact. Demonize those that "seek political advantage" in the aftermath of a mass shooting and declare that passage any new gun control laws would be both ineffective and unconstitutional.

Those that fight solutions are the problem. And the problem is mass murder by legally obtainable assault weapons designed for military use sold to anyone with the cash to buy them. People die because we keep finding ridiculous gun industry reason for not controlling access to these weapons of mass destruction. There is nothing sacred about the 2nd amendment. It, like all other constitution provision, is eligible for amendment. The founder's could not have foreseen the destructive capacity of modern assault weapons. The Gun industry would have you believe that new laws will not work and that the 2nd Amendment was written on stone by the finger of God. People die in the name of profit.

one old man
Ogden, UT

An excellent and well reasoned article. We need more sensible people like this writer among us.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

When journalists learn to read, they will see the words, "shall not be infringed" as part of the 2nd Amendment.

If Michael Gerson chooses to limit the number or type or magazine capacity of the guns that he chooses to keep and bear, that is his business. He is not authorized, nor is Congress authorized, nor is the President authorized, nor is the Court authorized to put limits on gun ownership.

That is the Supreme Law of the Land. There is no higher law that supersedes the Supreme Law of the Land. There is no higher authority.

Anyone who suggests limiting our rights, when THAT particular right has the words attached, "shall not be infringed" is either very ignorant of the law or he is an enemy to the people, an enemy who is trying to take away our guaranteed RIGHTS.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Ah, Mike, Mike, Mike . . . .

I'll bet your tune would change dramatically if you or any of your family were ever in the line of fire of some nut case with a semi-auto jammed with extra capacity clips.

Of course that is assuming that you survive after you fail in your pitiful attempt to protect them by blazing away with your CCW -- perhaps even causing a few collateral casualties in the process.

Two questions: 1) Have you ever actually been in combat? 2) Why do you refuse to understand that attempts to "limit your RIGHTS" are simply sensible people trying to establish sensible rules for firearms our Founding Fathers never imagined could possibly exist?

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Take away a mass murderers gun what is to prevent him from throwing?
gasoline bombs into the crowded theater?

This would have killed even more.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

cjb. Evil must be eliminated, and sometimes you must do it one step at a time. Your comment is an NRA talking point. For now gas bombs are not killing people are they? Assault weapons are. You can be part of the solution or you can rationalize the problem. That is just what the Gun Manufacturers and the NRA want you to do.

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

Interesting that Vermont I believe has no restriction on guns, yet a tiny incident of gun violence. I believe that if a person in the movie audience had carried a gun things might have been different. I also suggest that in a country like Iraq if every home had an AK-47 and the home owner had honest property rights things might be different there. My son lives in Rockwall County, Texas. It is a fairly well off county. It has the highest concealed carry rate, and the lowest gun crime rate. One of the problems is we get the carry card, but don't actually carry the gun around.

Jon W.
Murray, UT

Maybe if he had used smaller clips his gun wouldn't have jammed and he would have been able to continue reloading and firing and killing more and more people.

It's impossible to play "what if" with these kinds of things. The big problem is identifying those who are about to go off the deep end. We can't really do that very well, apparently. And even if we could, our mental health system has changed to not allow involuntary committments so if wouldn't matter if we could.

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. " - John Adams

L White
Springville, UT

Mr. One Old Man,

Even God, himself, values our agency above all. He has told us what he would like us to do but then He allows us to do as we please with no forceful restaint from him even when his children decide to kill each other. Are we wiser than God? Do we know something that he does not know?

The price of freedom is accepting the fact that some people will misuse that freedom and that some of us will pay an awful price.

How can we ever become more than mere animals if we let government lead us around with a ring in our nose to keep us from hurting ourselves or others?

Mad Hatter
Provo, UT

Why is it that whenever there is a major tragedy involving some gunman with semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips, conservatives say: "Now isn't the time to talk about keeping this from happening again"? It seems they want to wait until the incident fades from memory and then they don't do anything because nothing is happening to focus attention on these types of weapons.

The whole situation is: If something happens, don't talk about it because we need to grieve; if nothing has happened, it is not necessary to talk about it.

We're not talking Second Amendment issues. We're talking about high-powered, military-type semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips which allow firing large numbers of bullets at a time, and closing legal loopholes which undermines background checks on the purchase of guns by people with the intent to harm others. There is no effort to keep people from having guns for purposes of hunting, target shooting, and personal ownership.

It just doesn't make any reasonable sense other than to accept the tragedy and keep the profits going to the gun and ammunition manufacturers.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Mr. White, with all due respect, that is one of the most silly comments I've ever read.

Doesn't the Lord expect us all to use wisdom? Where is the wisdom in allowing anything to go with respect to firearms?

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

It is appropriate when a tragedy occurs to consider the question if any factor could've prevented the tragedy. If a societal tragedy doesn't prompt us to look at the system then we are being irresponsible and ignorant.

That said.

If someone is determined to commit mass murder and mayhem it will be difficult to prevent all such events. But should we then adopt the attitude it is not preventable so why try? Do we not purchase car alarms or home alarms to deter some would-be criminals? There are numerous examples of things most of us do to try to prevent tragedy befalling our families.

Do we want our police forces out-gunned? Do we have a system of justice which consists of a trained, equipped force to deal with crime and a criminal justice system to prosecute crimes? Should we move toward citizens becoming judge, jury and executioner? How many countries have such a system and what are the results? What is their quality of life?

Broadly looking at the statistics the states with the lowest (per capita) gun ownership rates also have the lowest firearm death rates.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

It's not the gun as a machine that's a problem. It's the gun as a culture.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

The First Amendment is not absolute. One cannot shout "Fire" in a crowded theater.
The Second Amendment is not absolute. One cannot shoot firearms in a crowded theater.

I'm a bleeding heart liberal, blue through and through, but I have enough rightwing paranoia to believe that an armed populace helps keep the government honest. And I'm willing to accept that the "militia" in the Second Amendment refers to individuals and not a national guard. That said, however, I find it interesting that the only place the word "regulate" in any form appears in the Constitution is in the Second Amendment. We have vast regulatory bureaucracies (EPA, FDA, etc.) on the hazy basis of the Interstate Commerce and General Welfare clauses, and yet in the one area where the Constitution explicitly mandates regulation (and "well regulated," at that), regulation is resisted tooth and nail (presumably, nails on cold dying fingers).

The use of "well regulated" implies that the Founders could conceive of unregulated or poorly regulated militias and intentionally chose stronger control. At the very least, this seems to support inventory control and proficiency standards for gun owners.

I rarely agree with Gerson, but today he's right.

gray man
Orem, UT

old man
Two questions: 1) Have you ever actually been in combat? 2) Why do you refuse to understand that attempts to "limit your RIGHTS" are simply sensible people trying to establish sensible rules for firearms our Founding Fathers never imagined could possibly exist?
two answers plus one: yes I have been in combat.
why do you refuse to understand what the second amendment was about?
why do you refuse to understand that the founding fathers fully expected individuals to be able to own the same small arms that the military owned?

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

A question: Are any weapons not covered by the second amendment? How about grenade launchers? How about flame throwers? How about Predator Drones? Which weapons can civilians own? You can't really draw the line at military vs civilian equipment, because an ordinary hunting rifle is much further advanced than any military weapon the founders could have possessed.

I support the right of law abiding citizens to posses guns, but there has to be a line somewhere. Where is it?

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "We're not talking Second Amendment issues. We're talking about high-powered, military-type semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips . . . ."

It's sad that liberals no longer seem capable of even recognizing Second Amendment issues. They've disingenuously defined away the problem for so long, they appear to have convinced themselves normal people actually take them seriously.

Real people will never understand why liberals are so intent on placing criminals in a position of advantage over us. But, rather than trusting them or their pandering liberal politicians to define the criminal threat for us, real people look to the ACTUAL criminal threat in deciding how to protect against it.

Those trained in military or self-defense tactics recognize that area, or fully automatic weapons are not particularly useful for self defense in an urban environment. But high capacity magazines? Criminals have plenty of those.

And always will, no matter what the law says.

So, why would liberals insist we stop and reload after every 10th round, while criminals keep plugging away at us?

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