To the Editor:

Your opinion headline (Keizertimes, Dec. 21) proclaims, “It’s time to talk about guns.” There is certainly plenty of that going on. It’s the simplistic, knee-jerk reaction to the recent horrific shootings.

Near the end of the piece you say “The gun issue is a people issue. We, as a society, must demand that gun laws be enforced, that an assault weapons ban is re-imposed …”. It’s a people issue, so we must go after inanimate objects? The logic behind that paragraph baffles me, particularly since the rifle used in Connecticut was legally purchased and owned under Connecticut’s assault weapon law.

What evidence do you have that gun laws aren’t being enforced? Our background check systems are setting records for the usage of the checks, so apparently dealers are complying with that law. Every on-line gun distributor clearly states that sales have to go through a local Federal Firearms Licensee and I have no doubt that this administration would be all over any distributor not following the law-unless of course it was the Justice Department illegally buying the guns to supply to Mexican drug cartels (but that‘s another ignored story).

Timothy McVeigh didn’t use a single bullet to kill 19 toddlers and 149 adults in Oklahoma City, just a rental truck full of fertilizer. Even if we could somehow make all the guns in the U.S. suddenly disappear, the crazies would still find ways to carry out their madness.

Maybe “It’s time to talk about society.” When America wasn’t afraid of pointing out right and wrong, when unspeakable violence and depravity weren’t considered entertainment or games, when—dare I say it?—the 10 Commandments could be spoken of in schools, we didn’t hear of these kinds of events. Maybe if we once again became a society that required personal responsibility instead of trying to figure out “what caused it,” if we didn’t glorify the need for celebrity, if we expected decency and quality in entertainment and we once again became a culture that taught respect for life and property, then maybe we would stop hearing of such events.

There is no downside to those things, even if it doesn’t solve the problem. I can guarantee that bans on certain guns, magazines, ammo or anything else will not stop them from occurring and so there will be calls for further bans, one after another, because “it hasn’t worked.” This is exactly what happened in the United Kingdom after a school shooting in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1996. The private ownership of guns, which was already highly restricted, was virtually eliminated. The ensuing years, however, have seen a steady rise in gun crimes there. What a shock, criminals and mental cases don’t obey the law! Anti-gun zealots always seize on these tragedies to advance their cause, which is eliminating the private possession of firearms and they know that the groundswell of emotion that follows such an event can be used to accomplish their goals. As the President’s good friend, and now mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel once said, “never let a crisis go to waste.” Let’s try to use reason and common sense to get past our emotional response as we as a people try to move our country to a better place.

Ted Welter