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.