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Conflict between responsible gun ownership & interest of industry

To The Daily Sun,

Thirteen GUNned down at Columbine, 49 GUNned down at Virginia Tech, 43 GUNned down at Fort Hood, 19 in Tucson, 82 GUNned down in Aurora, 26 GUNned down in Sandy Hook, 15 GUNned down at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard, and nine people GUNned down at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, and most recently, 18 GUNned down at an Oregon community college. Mass shootings remain an almost exclusively American phenomenon among advanced countries.

The common thread linking these acts of terror are that the weapons used in these assaults were manufactured and supplied by the gun industry — aided and abetted by the NRA.

Conservatives, many of which are NRA members, would like us to believe that more guns available to more people will equate to less crime. Even though, internationally, 86 percent of gun deaths of children under the age of 14 occur in the United States. Proponents justify this by arguing that, "No one was shot at a school with an automatic weapon." They regurgitate the NRA propaganda that, "Guns don't kill people — people kill people" but neglect to tell us that in 68 percent to 72 percent (depending on sources) of violent crime murders, the "people" choose handguns as their instrument of killing. Evidence suggests that guns are not just a means of executing a hard-and-fast decision to kill; they are a risk factor that should be considered alongside mental illness, substance abuse and family history.

This myth that more guns equals less crime stems from a book written by John Lott, "More Guns, Less Crime," in 1998. When seeking answers about his sources, Lott was evasive and couldn't produce evidence to support his theories. It is believed that Lott misled critics and falsified data when writing his book. Researchers have found his premise deeply flawed and misguided.

In his latest trite slogan, Wayne LaPierre, would like us to believe that, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." The major flaw to this propaganda is that most of these acts of terror were committed by, what the NRA would consider "good guys", prior to their assaults. These terrorists were "law abiding" gun owners and therefore one of the "good guys" with a gun.

Background checks for all gun sales is supported by 85 percent of the American public. Laws meant to prevent mentally ill individuals from buying guns has the support of 79 percent of the public, and 70 percent support a federal database tracking gun sales. A proposal to ban assault-style firearms is supported by a majority of Americans — 57 percent. These findings have remained remarkably similar since the poll taken after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2013.

The CEO of the NRA, LaPierre, has come out in arrogant disregard of providing comfort for lives lost. He harangues in favor of greater money gleaning by his gun-profiting organization by continually spreading fear to such a degree that more and more people will feel desperate and abandoned enough to seek a gun and generate an even greater climate of fear — selling fear sells guns. He is promoting a disastrous armaments race in which those that prepare for violence end up in violence. The NRA intends to spread fear by insisting on putting guns into schools to signal how unsafe everyone is and shall ever be. Shakespeare wisely said it long ago, "Fear doth make a coward of us all."

I have great respect for responsible gun owners, but it's this call to arbitrarily arm more "people" with guns that causes me great concern.

In related letters, NRA members encourage readers to do some "responsible research" of the candidates by referencing the NRA. This would be all well and good except for the fact that the NRA, once an organization that promoted hunting, firearms safety programs, organized rifle clubs, and taught marksmanship, has now morphed into a political arm of the Republican Party and a pimp for the weapons industry. Just as I'm sure conservatives will not be researching Democratic or liberal web sites. Why would they believe that those with opposing views would rely on the opinions of the NRA. Of course, members believe that "it's all true" because the NRA tells them what they want to hear — everything is solved by guns. I would suggest that truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

While I do support responsible gun ownership, I feel that NRA political assertions are often not supported by facts, but rather an expression of fact-free ideology, which conveniently often overlaps with the interests of the gun industry.

After all this having been said, the most obvious threat to a U.S. citizen's liberty has little to do with firearms, it has to do with money. American legislators are either bought outright or controlled by the capacity of the rich to nullify the wishes of the majority in an election.

That will be history's sad comment on the demise of the great American dream. Not that gun ownership eroded our society, but that big money took control of the electoral process.

Robert Miller


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Allow me to report on No Labels Conference in Manchester

To the Daily Sun,

At the No Labels Conference in Manchester, the stage included five actors who told why unstuck government is important to them, then went into the audience with mics to find New Hampshire people to tell what our concerns are. Actor Wayne Knight from "Seinfeld" held the mic for me when I said that, "An old problem is nuclear weaponry, that we live with every day as a threat to our lives and the life of the planet. President Obama has allotted $1 trillion for more nuclear weapons." Wayne Knight, who on stage had said he's here because of his 5-year-old son's future, thanked me.

I was struck by our persistent willingness for more war, when candidate-for-president Lindsay Graham, in a slew of questions addressed to bank-seated college students, wanted them to raise their hands for being willing to "give your lives for our country". He was talking troops on the ground to fight the Islamic forces.

Gov. Christie did address not enough accessible health care for our vets who need it.

Bernie Sanders was the only candidate to point out our high numbers in prison, and what that costs, and that education is a better expenditure with one outcome being fewer desperate people committing crimes.

Martin O'Malley sounded good on energy policy, even using a smart phrase I haven't heard in a long time — "conservation energy" — but disappointingly also talked about "safer nuclear". Interesting, because it subtly points out the un-safety of nuclear plants all around our country.

Maggie Hassan and Kelly Ayotte both spoke with us. Governor Hassan, now running for U. S. Senate, praised our inherent hardiness, living with granite and winter cold. Apt compliment and observation as we leave warm summer and prepare to be our most durable selves. As did others, recognizing the day's theme, Senator Ayotte gave credit to Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill for their working across the aisle.

Often mentioned from the audience with mic opportunity, was the overwhelming burden to college students of loan debt. Truly a problem to be solved. Our 2016 choices are more and more about how we will live our daily lives because of government that we need to be good government.

Lynn Rudmin Chong


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