LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Missouri politicians' stance on gun control is embarrassment to state

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | 12:44 p.m. CST

An open letter to Sen. Kurt Schaefer:

In the Columbia Daily Tribune, I read your words: "Missourians should resist attempts to restrict gun rights by all means, including an act of nullification, if necessary." As a resident of Columbia, I am embarrassed by your words. If you haven't read David Rosman's Jan. 16 column in the Missourian, you should find time to read it.

Have you forgotten that the Second Amendment begins, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...?" At a time when there was no police force or standing army, there was a need for self-protection, unlike today.

The excesses of the Missouri legislature in the past year, with its repeated efforts to reject the Affordable Care Act as well as its efforts to restrict women's control of their bodies, have made Missouri a laughingstock. Now, in a new legislative session, your and Sen. Brian Munzlinger's efforts further embarrass thinking people. The Civil War should have settled the federal/state issue, yet extremists of your ilk seem to work to manufacture conflicts in spite of settled law.

Semiautomatic firearms and large magazine clips should not be in the hands of civilians. Only the military should have access to weapons intended only to kill people.

Had you expressed such extreme views before the November elections, I doubt you would have won that election. I am disappointed to see you emerge with such an extreme position on gun control after the several massacres that have occurred just in recent memory. Although the NRA continues to spread its propaganda that the 1994 assault weapon ban did not result in fewer deaths, reporter Al Hunt asserted in an interview with Charlie Rose on Jan. 14 that the number of deaths did decrease after that law was passed and then, in 2004, began to increase when the law was not renewed.

In Great Britain, which carefully controls access to firearms, only 155 gun-related deaths occurred in 2010 whereas in the U.S. more than 12,000 deaths occurred in 2008. Do not tell me that guns do not kill people. A killer wielding a knife or a baseball bat could not have killed 20 little children and six of their teachers. Only an assault rifle could have allowed the killer to riddle the bodies of those precious children with as many as 11 bullets. The lunatics seem to be in charge of the Missouri legislature, and I hang my head in shame.

There's something terribly off kilter with our democracy when our legislators show lack of concern for the citizenry but are driven by partisan extremism. The world must watch in disbelief.

Mary Ann Shaw is a Columbia resident.

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Michael Williams January 22, 2013 | 2:28 p.m.

Missouri might not get by with nullification since we can be extorted by loss of federal dollars.

Texas, not so much.

What are ya gonna do? Send in tanks and B-2's? Arrest the governor, most of the government, every county sheriff, National Guard and State Police, and most of the citizenry?

Good luck with dat.

I do appreciate the legislative sentiment on Missouri's part, tho; hell, nothing wrong with a good demonstration of support even if it just ends up windmill tilting; I'm confident you would agree with this notion if you also supported our local Occupy movement.

"Only the military should have access to weapons intended only to kill people."

Question: Do you think US slavery would have happened if Africans had access to guns and sufficient training/organization way back then? Personally, I'm thinking that if they had had such things, there would have been one helluva lot of dead black and white slave traders. For me, I'm confident slavery in the US would never have happened if native Africans had been able to defend individuals and communities.

"At a time when there was no police force or standing army, there was a need for self-protection, unlike today."

I'm so appalled, I can't even think of one thing to say......

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 22, 2013 | 2:35 p.m.

This is VERY off-topic, but I really wanted to post this link for those who think old and dying trees should be selfishly preserved for you and your hugging, leaving something ugly and rotten for those who come after.

THIS is what you do! You MAKE something beautiful out of it before it rots!

Then plant more trees!

PS: Gawd, I wish I owned that mill!!!!!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 22, 2013 | 3:04 p.m.

Wow, I wonder what solution the writer has to remove the millions and millions of semiautomatic (which are not what soldiers have used for decades) from the general public? At least they weren't talking about just assault weapons, which are simply scary-looking semiautomatic rifles.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm January 22, 2013 | 3:19 p.m.

Prohibition against guns is stupid just like…
Prohibition against alcohol was stupid.
Prohibition against prostitution is stupid.
Prohibition against abortion is stupid.
Prohibition against marijuana is stupid.
Prohibition is stupid….

Where there is a demand there will always be a supply. Try to change why there is so much demand for guns, not the supply, and you may actually accomplish something.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 22, 2013 | 3:56 p.m.

JackH: I pretty much agree with you.

Your sentence, "Try to change why there is so much demand for guns, not the supply, and you may actually accomplish something...." is a good one, and brings to mind 2 thoughts:

(1) You have to decide whether accomplishing a "thing" (by reducing demand) is a right and proper thing to do, and

(2) Of all the things you noted, only one is can be used in self-preservation (well, maybe the abortion thingie is an exception depending upon which side of the birth canal you are). All the rest are just fun things to do.

(Report Comment)
Mark Flakne January 22, 2013 | 10:37 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Matt Wilkinson January 23, 2013 | 10:55 a.m.

Well stated Mary Ann.

Schaefer and Munzlinger are posturing and throwing red meat to the idiotic yahoos. My friends and colleagues living here who come from stable western democracies look on in bemusement and stunned disbelief at our bizarre 18th century rooted attitude toward guns.

The Brits and Australians acted quickly and did the right thing after their tragedies.

Disclosure - I'm a gun owner, 22 rifle and 12g

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 23, 2013 | 12:49 p.m.

M. Wilkinson - "Even Australia's Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
Sexual assault -- Australia's equivalent term for rape -- increased 29.9 percent.
Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.

Moreover, Australia and the United States -- where no gun-ban exists -- both experienced similar decreases in murder rates:

Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America's rate dropped 31.7 percent.
During the same time period, all other violent crime indices increased in Australia: assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
Sexual assault -- Australia's equivalent term for rape -- increased 29.9 percent.
Overall, Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent.
Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women."

Results were the same in Canada and U.K.

(Report Comment)
Chris Cady January 24, 2013 | 1:38 p.m.

This letter would have had more impact if the writer had left out his/her own views on gun control and stuck to the nullification issue.

I find it horrifying that officials in any state in the nation (and MO is not the only one) would publicly state refusal to follow federal laws, passed by a Congress made up of elected officials (including ours) and signed into law by the President. The law would not stand up for 10 seconds, of course, but the very idea seems seditious.

Imagine, law enforcement officials (such as Sheriffs) refusing to enforce the law?

We're in way deeper trouble than I realized, friends.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 1:53 p.m.

"Imagine, law enforcement officials (such as Sheriffs) refusing to enforce the law?"

Absolutely I can imagine it. In fact, I think you'll get to witness it happen.

The notion of "nullification" is based upon one phrase in the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which is repeated here:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

Note the words "Laws...which shall be made in pursuance thereof." The thing which shall be pursued is the Constitution. Loosely translated, this means federal laws SHALL be followed by states unless the law(s) is unconstitutional, at which point a state can say "Kiss my grits!"

Subsequent court cases have taken the meaning to a point that I do not understand, with logic I do not understand, but the end result is that "nullification" is not supposed to happen.

We may just find out...I'm thinking various counties across the midwest and Texas take the lead. Or Oklahoma.

It's hard to criminalize incompetence and blindness.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 1:59 p.m.

Hey, did y'all see what happened to the nation's largest outdoor exhibition: Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show?

Reed Exhibitions, the Brit firm that manages the exhibition, postponed the event scheduled to take place in early Feb, 2013. I'm guessing "postponed" is a polite way of saying "cancelled".

Too many exhibitors and celebrities pulled out. I don't know if our local Midway Arms was one of them.

Google it to find out "why?"

My sides hurt.

I'm betting the city fathers and business folks in Harrisburg, PA are not very happy: ca. $74mil down da tubes.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 24, 2013 | 3:12 p.m.

Ms. Shaw has been sucked up into the liberal propaganda naming the weapon, culprit in random killings, rather than the person using that weapon. The killing, injury and damage have occurred more and more often since our mentally ill were turned on to our streets with liberal laws of the 1960's declaring their "right" to be there. Then the "no fault" lifestyle being taught since that time period greatly lessens any guilt a sane person may have once felt for others while in pursuit of one's personal desires and here we are!

Liberals, unfortunately, are not pursuing a reduced or outlawed ownership and use of a gun because of any children harmed or killed (tho, I'm sure they are as sorry as we all). It is the ideology. Mentally ill and irresponsible others are to blame for our gun deaths, but the liberal attention to "guns" rather than the shooters, is based on the ideology of every control seeking government in the world's history (every one has banned firearms for the citizenry). An unarmed, defenseless populace may be controlled far more easily than one that can fight back.

But, that can't happen here! We hope not. The 2nd Amendment give us assurance!

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 24, 2013 | 3:58 p.m.

Even assault weapons are pretty much useless against the police, let alone the military, but in the right hands, they're highly effective against criminals. Maybe the goal of outlawing all guns is to make people even more dependent on the government to protect them.

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that when seconds count, the police will always be minutes away.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2013 | 5:25 p.m.

Uh oh. It appears the list of recalcitrant sheriffs is growing...........

More will probably just remain silent and blind.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 24, 2013 | 6:48 p.m.

Reminder that my "Gun Control" proposals do not ban any weapons. It only requires licensing for high capacity ones. I have absolutely no problem with true American patriots owning and using "assault" weapons. In fact, my licensing proposal could open the door for gun enthusiasts to get licensed to own and use some wicked-cool weaponry, which is illegal to own now.

The one caveat? Owners must reasonably prove they are not nutjobs, and will keep the weapons out of the hands of nutjobs.

Four proposals on gun control:

+1 for Jack Hamm's post, BTW. Don't be a hypocrite; if prohibition doesn't work here, don't advocate it as a solution elsewhere, either. Prohibition is nothing but state-sponsored violence, which ripples through our entire society. Ending other prohibitions would do far more to curb gun violence in this country, than adding any kind of gun prohibition. Send the SWAT teams after illegally owned guns, not pot money.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 25, 2013 | 3:49 a.m.

Derrick Fogle wrote:

"Reminder that my "Gun Control" proposals do not ban any weapons"

The main issue with your proposals is the expense of implementing them. Who does the screening/licensing? Who makes sure it is consistent and fair? Who pays for it and how much? If it's the gun owner (logically), does it cost so much that poor people can no longer afford a gun of their choice? Is that fair to them?

The assault rifle/high capacity ban is largely window dressing. Rifles are used in very few murders or suicides, so logically what we should be talking about is a handgun ban. Fundamentally, we should be talking about repealing the 2nd Amendment. But there's no support for such action, so our legislators will just posture, inconvenience the many for a very few, and nothing really will change.


(Report Comment)
frank christian January 25, 2013 | 10:00 a.m.

"we should be talking about repealing the 2nd Amendment. But there's no support for such action, so our legislators will just posture, inconvenience the many for a very few, and nothing really will change."

Yeah, Mark, your post about handgun bans and the above, with no mention of the human beings connected to the problem puts us in the nutshell, I described above, in mine.

In truth "nothing really will change", until the liberal mindset of, government first, is changed, or they are expelled from control anywhere in our governments. The pseudo-intellectualism of the liberal movement makes change of mindset nearly impossible (just ignore facts,since their way is best). Electoral expulsion is our only hope.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 25, 2013 | 12:24 p.m.

After we've reduced crime by banning guns, could we ban drugs next?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 25, 2013 | 2:24 p.m.

How will they enforce a total ban on so-called assault weapons? Are they going to go door-to-door and collect them? THAT I'd pay to see (as long as I'm not in anyone's line of fire).

I do think some of these weapons are obscene. You do realize, don't you, that we and our enenies fought both WW II and tne Korean "Conflict" with rather primative weapons. Emphasis was on accuracy, not filling the landscape with lead. Do our elected representatives even know the difference between a clip and a magazine?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 25, 2013 | 2:30 p.m.

Ellis, I have a friend who has purchased several WW2 and similar vintage rifles using the curious and relics license he once had. I hoped soldiers had better luck using the M-4 carbine (I think it was) than I did at the range north of town. The Garand was much more fun and the Mosin-Nagant kicked like a Russian mule.

(Report Comment)
Matt Wilkinson January 25, 2013 | 4:13 p.m.

Frank C great cut and past of questionable stats directly from that Koch Bros. financed NCPA site.

Here's two cut and pastes for the day:

"Have murders increased since the gun law change, as claimed? Actually, Australian crime statistics show a marked decrease in homicides since the gun law change. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, a government agency, the number of homicides in Australia did increase slightly in 1997 and peaked in 1999, but has since declined to the lowest number on record in 2007, the most recent year for which official figures are available.

But I like this one much better from Australian MP Kelvin Thompson, especially the last bit:

"There have been always been great differences between the number of weapons that Australians and Americans own – that is precisely why there are so many more deaths, on a per capita basis, in the United States. It is also true that there are differences in the way Americans and Australians view weapons – nevertheless … our experience is relevant and potentially informative – we had massacres, we acted, we no longer have massacres."

Did ya get that Frank? - they no longer have cluster f shootings, nada, none in 17 years whereas here there were 16 in 2012 alone. Are you getting it yet?

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 25, 2013 | 4:15 p.m.

John - Your mention of the M-4 brought memory about ww2 carbines, one of which I thought was replaced because of malfunctions. I thot it was M-4 but history of the weapon shows no sign of bad performance. Was I dreaming again?

In the USAF, for maneuvers, I was issued an M-3 Grease gun. Easy to carry, no one ever allowed me to fire it, however.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 25, 2013 | 5:19 p.m.

Matt Wilkinson - You seem not to be able to "get it". You are not writing to a bunch of school kids. The source you suspect noted the 2007 reduction, but suggested it was cyclical since U.S. rate dropped as well with no gun ban.

"Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America's rate dropped 31.7 percent."

Why would you come back to me and expect to make some point, without a word about the increase in all their other crime rates? When the bad guys assume they are not going to get shot, their activities (all those listed in my "cut and paste") increased, as they would anywhere on earth where illegal acts have a better chance of going unpunished. This can be shown in the other countries as well. Their people are far more unsafe with guns banned! Dispute those increases in home invasions, assault, Rape, etc. "Australia's violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.". Or, just admit that you are arguing for the liberal vision of an unarmed, defenseless American people.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush January 25, 2013 | 9:20 p.m.

The militia is
Disregulated so our
States are not secure.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 25, 2013 | 9:38 p.m.

Whatever the hell, that means.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 25, 2013 | 10:10 p.m.

@ John S.

The only carbines I'm familiar with are the M-1 and M-2. The difference between them was that the M-2 could be manually switched from semi-automatic to automatic mode.

The M-1 carbine was my weapon. We had no M-2s in Europe; the then limited supply was assigned to Korea.

If you want a REAL vintage WWII/Korea weapon try the .45 caliber sub-machine gun known lovingly as the "grease gun." Our bridge* truck drivers were assigned them. The weapon was a piece of junk, wildly inaccurate except at close range, caused more than a few accidental shootings, but it could spew out a lot of .45 caliber rounds.

*- For hauling segments of prefabricated bridges.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush January 25, 2013 | 11:03 p.m.

Spoken like a man
Wearing a conical hat
At an IQ fight.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 26, 2013 | 12:20 a.m.

Hi Ellis, it looks like I had my nomenclature wrong. I'm pretty sure the M-1 carbine is what my friend brought to the range a couple times many years ago. It liked to jam on me for some reason to the point where I didn't bother to shoot it much.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 26, 2013 | 8:23 a.m.

John S.:

It's been about 55 years since I turned in my M-1 carbine, was given six new $50 bills, and became a civilian again, so it may be there has been both a M-3 and M-4 model in that time.

I fire left-handed; ejection (of spent cartridges) for these weapons is to the right. Under certain circumstances a left-handed shooter can have a spent cartridge hit him. The ejected casing is hot.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 26, 2013 | 9:34 a.m.


I think we are talking about the same "grease gun," so-called because it resembled an old-fashioned gun used to apply grease to motor vehicles.

The weapon only had one machined part: all the other parts were stamped metal.

Operation was classified as "blow back" (please, no jokes): to fire the weapon you had to have the bolt fully back and locked, with the breach OPEN, which is bass ackwards to rifles and carbines.

When the trigger was depressed, the spring
-loaded bolt drove forward, firing a chambered round, and the hot gas drove the bolt back again. This sequence continued until either the trigger was released or the magazine became empty.

There was a safety, but it wasn't reliable. The only sure safety, other than the weapon not being loaded, was to keep the bolt forward (breach closed); the weapon could not fire in that mode.

My understanding is that the "grease gun" is obsolete.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 26, 2013 | 10:58 a.m.

Ellis - That sounds just like mine. I just picked it up when we went "on maneuvers" and returned it when they were over. Another "peacetime" use of the carbine is now remembered. We were practicing parachute drops of emergency rescue kits over our air base in German "french zone", when a screw up allowed one to land outside base on to one of the small German farms surrounding us. Our embarrassed a/c commander and the co-pilot went personally to the farmer to retrieve the parachute and it's dummy kit, but were told no one had seen anything like that. The Base was on maneuvers and the group that went back to the farm house left weapons except for the young German-American G.I. who had indicated that he spoke German. He was allowed to carry his empty carbine. He knocked on the door with the butt and when the farmer opened the door, waved the weapon and barked a few words in German. The farmer ran to a shed, dug to the bottom of his wood pile and produced the 'chute, intact. When the G.I. was asked what he told the farmer, he said "I just told him, I wanted the parachute he was hiding."

What made the farmer understand, the words, or the carbine?

(Report Comment)

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