Dear Editor:

Assault-style weapons are designed for the military with the sole purpose of killing as many people as quickly and as violently as possible. That is their sole purpose.

Most members of Congress have never served in the military, or lost a child to gun violence, or fired an assault weapon, or witnessed the damage these weapons cause. How about requiring members of Congress to physically visit a mass shooting crime scene, and to help clean up the damage?

Would this change any opinions on assault weapons? Would the U.S. Congress ban assault-style weapons from civilian possession? I hope so.

Dennis Ferguson

El Granada

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(12) comments

John Charles Ullom

Took only a minute for a punk with an AR-15 to slaughter five and maim nine in Louisville yesterday.

Obviously we need to focus on Drag Queens and ban some more books.


“The Second Amendment, often referred to as the right to bear arms, is one of 10 amendments that form the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791 by the U.S. Congress.” (from here;

From here;

“The United States census of 1790 was the first census of the whole United States. It recorded the population of the United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution and applicable laws. In the first census, the population of the United States was enumerated to be 3,929,214.”

One can’t help but wonder several things; did our founding fathers imagine a country from coast to coast with nearly ten times their population? There are other Amendments that need to be revisited and changed to fit into today’s nation going forward. Certainly the 14th Amendment would another.

When a nation places more value on guns, particularly assault weapons, than they (we) do on our children, something is terribly wrong.

I do like the idea of elected lawmakers having to go to mass shootings. Gets real personal that way and it beats the tar out of thoughts and prayers (so disingenuous).


"... with nearly ten times their population?" Silly me; maybe I should have used a calculator.

Should read "with nearly one hundred times their population?"

Didn't catch that until I posted it.


This is intended as a reply to JustinStockman's 2nd post below.

"It’s in this light that I would like to point out that I do not think Dennis meant you or people like you any ill will ."

I certainly agree with you that Mr Ferguson's intent was not to speak maliciously about me or others. I only wanted to put gun owners into a warm relatable personal light instead of a cold unrelatable distant generic "gun owners."

I only wanted to point out that gun owners are not some kind of fanatical nut cases just waiting to snap or, as Local Yokel nicely phrased it "as mass shooters in-waiting " .

Most gun owners acquire guns because they enjoy shooting. Contrary to mainstream media's characterization, personal defense is only a secondary concern. Their homes are not fortresses!

Again, most people buy guns because they enjoy shooting. Not as mainstream media portrays them as fanatical pro-Second Amendment nut cases.

You innocently state "Perhaps you could explain what you plan to do with your AR-15?"

I intend to do with an AR15 what all the other AR (and AK) owners do: Enjoy a day at the range (me), go hunting or control vermin pests etc. (others)

Local Yokel

Respectfully, your language in how you are describing these weapons show that you don't have any actual knowledge. The terms "weapons of war" and "assault" are terms used by politicians and mainstream news to vilify gun owners and create fear. This is part of the reason why no resolution will ever be reached. Uninformed anti gun activists refuse to be educated on the issue and gun owners are painted as mass shooters in-waiting.

Nothing has ever been accomplished without honest civil conversations. Sadly, honesty and civility has disappeared from society, from politicians and civilians alike.




There are 15 million AR's owned by gun owners.

My grandson has 19 guns including 2 AR's and 1 AK. A friend and her husband -- a Texas Trooper -- have 7 AR's. A relative in Georgia --a 20 year Navy veteran carries a loaded handgun in her purse (legitimate concealed carry permit). Most of my firearms aficionado friends and acquaintances own more than 1 AR. I myself only own 4 guns but I'm considering buying an AR 15.

You seem to have some kind of a problem with me, my friends, family and acquaintance -- all good people -- owning and enjoying their AR 15's? Why? I don't.


I didn’t get that at all. Dennis did not mention you or your (potentially) new AR-15.

Can you help us understand the argument you’re trying to make? Perhaps you could explain what you plan to do with your AR-15? How will this specific purchase you’re considering improve your life or the lives of others?

I find Dennis’ point much easier to understand. I was watching interviews just today of veterans of the Pacific Theater of World War 2, and did not get the idea that they enjoyed, even for a minute, the immense responsibility of carrying and utilizing weapons of war. The Marines who were interviewed used their weapons in service of their country, and with a certain pride, but also at great personal cost.

I’ve never taken another human beings life. But I’ve seen many lose their lives. I do not wish those memories on others. I do wish the lessons of the memories though. Human life is beautiful and precious. Each moment is an immense and indescribable gift. God truly and completely exists within each of us.

I try to live my life in a way that preserves human life when possible, and protects human dignity always. I suspect you, me, and Dennis ultimately have this in common. We care about our family, our neighbors, and our community. I hope we can find opportunities to have that common ground, even when our route to exercising that care is different.

I’m with Dennis here. I would love to see our representatives- from City Council to Senators - more involved in the fallout of all forms of violence in our Country.


"I didn’t get that at all. Dennis did not mention you or your (potentially) new AR-15"

That's exactly the point. He merely implied that I -- and by extension all responsible gun owners -- are just a bunch of latent mass murderers waiting to snap.

Nothing could be further from the truth! If you want to see responsible gun ownership just go to a legitimate gun range or

gun store; Not listen to the incessant drivel of anti gun political activists.

The real cause of societal violence by any means -- of which guns are only a small fraction -- is violence marketed and accepted as entertainment.

When I was a kid I remember taking a .22 cal rifle on the NYC subway system. It never entered my mind to shoot anyone.

Society has changed. Nowadays violence is ubiquitous throughout US society. Violent movies, violent music; violent sports; violence against authority, etc. -- all actively promoted by Hollywood and their media allies.

Yes, members of Congress should visit the scenes of violence -- starting with Hollywood.

Of course this will never happen. Why? Because Hollywood producers are among their biggest contributors!


You know, I really agree with you on the marketing of violence. While it might be difficult to draw direct causation, it is not difficult to make reasonable assumptions connecting a society that exercises very high levels of violent fanatasy with little to no actual experience observing or experiencing violence.

The problem with regulating violent media is remarkably similar to regulating firearms. The constitution is very clear on speech and firearms, and although I am not an owner of a gun or a media mogul, I do recognize the critical importance of both the first and second amendment in keeping government in check. Unchecked government always ends in the same place. Government with too much control over its population will always result in authoritarianism, it’s just a matter of whether the change takes a decade or a century. It’s worth noting that none have made it anywhere close to a millennia regardless of the political systems in place.

I do want to point out one critical difference between defending rights with speech and firearms however. Defending with speech means sharing ideas. Yes, some are bad, and some will certainly encourage violence. Perhaps there are some cases where we can draw a reasonable and direct line of causation. But speech itself does not take lives.

When we discuss using firearms to defend our rights we are ultimately talking about shooting members of the governments security forces. That would be cops and soldiers, to state the obvious. This is almost too ugly to imagine. I’ve got nothing but respect for the women and men willing to put on a uniform in service of their community and country, and struggle with the second amendment in this context. The thought of citizens needing to employ violence to deter oppression is unimaginable in a country that has enjoyed so much stability and prosperity over the last century. Yet, this is why the second amendment was written. To end the lives of those who would seek to seize power. It’s an amendment as important as it is terrifying.

Which is not to say that all gun ownership is in line with or in the spirit of the second amendment. Sport. Hunting. Collecting. “Self defense” in country that spends more on defense than the next nine combined, inclusive of China and Russia, gets murky. But, like violent media, giving up part of the right - even a small part - is how the big change always begins.

Through this rant I am trying to say that this is not an easy issue to solve. Too often we talk past each other, fixate on the parts of the discussion we are comfortable with, and see each others view points as a threat to our own. As many great men and women have pointed out over the years, from Jesus Christ to Marcus Aurelius, we suffer the greatest loss when we find ourselves angry, defensive, and distracted from the one thing that is important above all else: true and unceasing love for our fellow beings.

It’s in this light that I would like to point out that I do not think Dennis meant you or people like you any ill will. I think - and I guarantee I am guilty of it more than either of you - he did not consider your position. This was a mistake, surely. One we all make. The simple reality for all three of us is that our best opportunity to find common ground, shared solutions, and a change to the status quo is with kindness, understanding, and love for our neighbors.

I am forever thankful to Dennis for taking time to share an opinion publicly and with positive intention. And I am thankful for your willingness to come here and express yours. You’re both right, and all of us have a lot of work to do. Let’s get to it.

John Charles Ullom

Is there any middle ground kiosk? Is there no limit to the destructive power that one can casually purchase?

I am not an anti gunner. Only owned two shotguns my whole life but my step dad is gun enthusiast. He has stuff in the gun safe in his garage that could take out 50 people, if he were so inclined. Some of it, he shouldn't be allowed to own. In my opinion. He knows how I feel. I am not worried about it. My stepdad is a sweet guy and smart enough to put the guns away when the Jim Beam comes out.

But my stepdad acknowledges there are or should be limits.

Really cool and destructive tech is going to become available. Put a gun on drone? Why not? Throw in some AI and your drone is now a defensive system. Or a really effective hunting platform. Just tell the drone to go find a well racked buck. Of course, one could tell the drone to go find some guy and stand some ground. Most people would never ever tell their drone to kill anybody. A few will. Would you be OK with limiting access to that kind of tech?

What about maneuverable ammunition? Or ammo that will penetrate anything? Is there any limit? Gun equipped robots?

kiosk, nobody implied anything about responsible gun owners. Nobody has taken anything away from you, other than the last President. He tried to restrict bump stocks. His own hand picked judges slapped the ban down.

Society has not changed. The murder rate was drastically higher in the 1700's and 1800's. The worst American school atrocity happened in 1927. Disrespect for authority became popular after WW2. Outlaw motorcycle gangs found members among the disaffected veterans of that war. Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and just about every cartoon promoted violence.

There have always been school shootings. The difference between your childhood ride on the subway and today? How many of your childhood peers had access to anything like an AR-15? Or and AK-47? And let's say you got on a train with such a weapon? Back then. How would that have gone?

I believe in the Constitution. Though they were flawed, the men who wrote it wrote a brilliant document. I support all of the Constitution. And the Second is there for a very good reason.

That being said, does my notion that the well regulated part of the Second allows for limits on what a private citizen can own when it comes a weapon, make me something left of Chairman Mao?

As for Hollywood, Politicians, and Gun Control, one man stands out. Ronald Reagan. Ever here of the Mulford Act? You should have. From the perspective of a California Second Amendment Absolutist, 1967 was the worst year, EVER, when it came to gun control.

Members of the Black Panthers, chose to protest gun control. It seems that the Panthers had figured out where power really comes from. They even showed up in Sacramento, carrying! Then governor Reagan, and a whole passel of Republicans, turned into the NRA's worst nightmare. Except, the NRA concurred with Reagan:

“There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons..." Governor Reagan 1967

"But I want you to know something else, and I am going to say it in clear, unmistakable language: I support the Brady Bill and I urge Congress to enact it without further delay.” President Reagan, 1994

And kiosk, another thing that will never happen is meaningful gun control. The gun lobby makes contributions too. And as they say, they vote!

Anyways, I'm not worried about you either. I agree, there are some anti gun absolutists out there who routinely say dumb things about guns. And yeah, the thing about violence in our society being glorified is a big factor. Banning the guns that I would have banned wouldn't end the carnage.

Is there a middle ground?

John Charles Ullom

Justin. You wrote: "The constitution is very clear on speech and firearms.."

Yep! Every time somebody uses the, "The Framers didn't anticipate high powered machine guns" line of reasoning I point out that James Madison and his crew didn't see Twitter coming when they wrote the first!

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