Time for a discussion
It is time for our elected officials, federal and state, Democrat and Republican, to crawl out of the pockets of the gun lobby.
First, they need to provide adequate funding to ensure full enforcement of all existing gun laws. Second, they should enact legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Third, the gun show loophole, allowing anyone to purchase anything, no questions asked, must be eliminated.
At that point, we can begin a national dialogue on gun control. As a nation we may or may not choose to do anything further, but it is past time for a calm and rational discussion of the subject.
Judith M. Lang
I read the article in the Dec. 29 Record-Eagle about a woman charged with contempt after uttering profanity overheard by court staff in Berrien County. As an attorney and thus an officer of the court, I do not condone disrespect to court staff and there may be more to the story than what was printed in the paper.
But I can't help but question why society is willing to limit the First Amendment right of free speech when that speech is offensive, but we have yet to find the killing of children to be offensive enough to place reasonable limits on the Second Amendment.
Missing the point
Why is everyone missing the point? If criminals and mentally ill individuals would abide by the laws, our prisons would be empty. Focusing on conceal-and-carry rules won't do anything to change the behavior of those who are intent on violence. To obtain a conceal-and-carry permit, one must go through classes, have a background check done and be fingerprinted.
These law-abiding citizens are not the ones who go on a rampage and cause horrors. Conceal and carry is not synonymous with automatic assault weapons. Like everyone, I am horrified by what happened to those innocent children and families, but focusing on restrictions to the conceal-and-carry laws won't do a thing to prevent a tragedy like this.
Every caring person wants to do "something," but restricting conceal and carry is only a false sense of security. Let's place our energy around dealing with mental illness in our society, violent video games, etc. In a time when our legislators are looking to cut funding for social services, we should take a closer look at cause and effect.
Let politicians pay
I saw in the Dec. 25 issue of the Record-Eagle that the study to merge the Traverse City fire department was going to cost $20,000. This sounds like a good project for a ninth-grade civics class. The decision to spend $20,000 on a single study, while Lansing passed more than 250 laws in the final days of its last session without such studies, seems like the politicians are cherry-picking who they want to pay and listen to.
Why are we paying for a study that they should be doing themselves? It is clear to me that the politicians have already decided what they are going to do, and are waiting for a study or public opinion to justify their decision, and if the study or opinions do not support their view, then ignore them.
If the politicians want another study, then they should pay the cost of hiring outsiders to do their thinking out of their own money. Take it from their pay, or make it a homework assignment capable of being completed by a middle-school class, and save that $20,000 for equipping and paying the folks fighting the fires.