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Letter: Sensible gun safety efforts are blocked by NRA and its money
Kevin Siegelbaum, a special education teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, leans in to pray Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Parkland, Fla., during a community vigil at Pine Trails Park for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

As is usually the case, unfortunately, the scope and grief of shootings in our nation’s schools, such as in Parkland, Fla., last week, usually dissipate after a week or two and nothing is done to address this growing crisis in our country. Although I do not believe this will stop all the shootings in our schools, I believe an assault weapons ban would have an immediate positive effect.

The Second Amendment usually comes up during a discussion such as this, so here are a couple of thoughts. I would guess that at least half of the people in this country don’t know what the amendment actually says, so here it is. “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

It was obviously included in the Constitution to support a militia. We no longer have a militia, so you could argue that we don’t need the amendment. More importantly than my opinion, late conservative Justice Anton Scalia said many times the he did not interpret this amendment to mean citizens should be allowed to have any type of firearm they desired.

I have direct knowledge of assault weapons and the destructive capability they have. I served a year in Vietnam and carried an M16, which is very similar to the M15 used by the shooter in Parkland. 

Quite often when there is a problem that needs to be solved, you can follow the money trail and quickly figure out why nothing is being done to solve the problem. As is usually the case, the NRA holds enough power over our elected officials with its financial resources to defeat them in the next election if they do not vote as the NRA dictates.

Our elected representatives are also financially indebted to the NRA. As an example, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has received over $3 million from the NRA in campaign contributions, and he is by no means alone. They always talk about how tragic these shootings are, but never want to address the cause, which in so many cases are assault rifles. 

This senseless killing of our children, grandchildren and educational staff has to stop. This is just horrible, and as a nation we are just standing by and doing nothing. I would respectfully ask everyone to contact and keep contacting their elected official to fix this. Talk is cheap; write, call, demonstrate and do not vote for candidates who support assault weapons. Do something now!

Steve Deming


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