Mr. Bryan Brinkley of Arizona People Acting for a Safer Society (AZ PASS) wrote a guest commentary in the AFN on Aug. 30, titled “Should guns be loved more than other people?” in which he seems to be offended that AFN published two rebuttals by a “loud minority in the community” to the stance that he and his organization represent.

Mr. Brinkley, if I’m in the minority, the Constitution protects me and allows me to speak out and to own a gun. I’ve always been quiet, as are the majority of individuals, but it’s reached the point where I am tired of having my rights trampled upon and slowly taken away by minorities. “Life, Liberty and Happiness” are no longer a forgone conclusion. I’m fed up and angry about the division in this country and the lack of leadership and where we are being led.

Let’s be clear first of all what your hidden agenda is which is to ultimately eradicate gun ownership by citizens. That’s the “hard truth,” using your words. Where are the facts to support your anecdotes or arguments? Why do you not provide factual statistics to support them, with references? And please don’t provide statistics skewed in your favor without questioning them, breaking them down and performing research.

Your objective is to work up the fears of individuals in our community so that they may be swayed toward your goals. According to one of your past articles you are in constant fear when you and your family attend the local Ahwatukee theater. Yet, when you lived in Japan, Britain and France you felt no such fear because they do not allow citizens to own guns. Are you saying those countries do not have violence where people are killed, raped, beaten, robbed or die accidently of other causes? Were you not in fear of a possible terrorist bombing? Perhaps you should have remained where you were so secure or returned to Iowa where you would not need to deal with Arizona’s criminal citizens who love their guns more than people.

I love and care for my family, friends, neighbors and most other people. Other than in war, I’ve never killed anyone with a gun or even aimed a gun at anyone. As a matter of fact because I own a gun, as do almost 50 percent of households, and because I love people, I can protect them if the need ever arises. Look up the statistics of the need arising, they are far greater than any statistics you could provide. What will you do for your family’s safety if they are in danger? Call the police after the fact when it is too late? True, there would be no need for guns in a civilized society. Utopia. I’m not a member of the National Rifle Association, but I am a sane responsible gun owner as are the majority of gun-owning Americans. I do not place anyone in jeopardy as a result of it any more than I do driving a car.

Your comments regarding the “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) laws and the Zimmerman case are laughable. Although Zimmerman and his spouse do not appear to be upstanding citizens he was acquitted by a jury of his peers. End of story. And contrary to what you infer, persons are subject to the judicial system, SYG law or not, as evidenced by the Zimmerman case.

You next insinuate that cities which have enacted stricter gun laws have reduced violence and crimes in those cities. Where are your statistics? And, have you considered demographics in your assumptions such as poverty, education, gangs, proximity to the border, make-up of the population, etc? Ahwatukee falls into any of those characteristics?

Ask my child’s doctor what their professional organization would say about what they would recommend about having a gun in the home? Are you kidding me? They’d also recommend I get rid of the electrical outlets.

You want some verifiable statistics that will blow your comments apart? Read these articles on the Internet: http://actionamerica.org/guns/guns1.shtml, http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp.

I visited the AZ PASS website and made note of some of your “amazing facts.” 1. Number of children under age of 13 killed by firearms between 2006 and 2011 — 680. That’s a little over 100 per year. No breakdown as to the circumstances. Not to trivialize the death of a child, but the population of the U.S. is 314 million. How many died in Arizona as a result of pools versus gun deaths? 2. Projected year by which annual firearm fatalities will surpass motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S.: 2015. Again, no breakdown as to circumstances (police caused, accidental, homicides, suicides). Suicides were two-thirds of the total number. How many people commit suicide by vehicle? If contemplating suicide and a gun were not available, wouldn’t the person find another method? 3. Date of a state supreme court decision that requires the University of Colorado to allow guns on campus: March 5, 2012. Hmmm, that makes sense. A crazed shooter was waiting for a date.

I think you need to place your talents and efforts more to other needy causes. Lowering the U.S. debt level, reducing taxes, reducing governmental controls and regulations, reducing government handouts, reducing the size of government and waste, increasing entrepreneurship, immigration reform without amnesty, health care reform without “Obamacare,” just to name a few. How about dialing “3” for German? I’d like that. I promise not to put a gun to your head.

• Gerald Tharp is a 19-year resident of Ahwatukee.

(4) comments

Chet

First, I assume you are a responsible gun owner, and that your gun(s) are always on your hip or in a safe, and that you're properly insured and trained.

So it's not you personally I personally worry about. I do worry about the mindset of people who think they need high power weaponry in modern America, and it would help your case if you'd remove the personal issues you have with Mr. Brinkley and, reading between the lines, Obama, and present stick to the facts.

First, your views on guns are the extreme minority opinion. Sorry.

Gun ownership is down in the US. In 2012, the share of American households with guns was 34 percent....

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/us/rate-of-gun-ownership-is-down-survey-shows.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

We don't live on farms or the woods anymore, but there are more guns, because while fewer households own guns, they own more per household.

The overwhelming majority of Americans want background checks.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/us-usa-guns-poll-idUSBRE9160LW20130207
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/07/171383152/poll-9-in-10-americans-support-background-check-for-all-gun-sales
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/apr/18/gabrielle-giffords/gabby-giffords-says-americans-overwhelmingly-suppo/

The supreme court agrees with you that you have a right to own a gun, but also says the government can regulate them. See District of Columbia v. Heller from 2008.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

That's 2008, a very conservative court. Heck, Clarence Thomas's wife is a Tea Party fundraiser, and Scalia asks "how high" when the Koch brothers say jump. Hardly a liberal SCOTUS.

That's an important case for gun owners, and I'll bet a dollar that 90% of you have never heard of it, and 99.9999% have never read it.

I assume the question about pediatrician's asking about guns in the home refers to this:

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/pediatricians-take-gun-lobby-carefully-1C9897538
http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2012/07/federal_judge_blocks_florida_l.html

Why would the NRA be against baby doctors asking if there are gun safety measures in a home with kids? What's the harm there? It's been awhile since I was in a pediatrician's office, but they usually have all kinds of child safety information.

As far as baby doc's recommending getting rid of electrical outlets to protect the youngsters, lots of people use things like these.

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AChild%20Proof%20Electrical%20Outlets

Some work better than others, but you get the idea.

NRA members are a very, very small minority of gun owners, btw. Between 2 and 4 million, or about 3 out of 100 people.

http://dailyitem.com/0102_politics/x503846842/Fact-Checker-Does-the-NRA-really-have-more-than-4-5-million-members

The mentally ill person who killed people at the Navy yard is the poster child for registration and background checks. What is your solution? The guy has a record of shooting things like his apartment and truck tires of people he doesn't like. He heard voices and told people so.

Yet it was completely legal to sell him a gun.

Please don't tell me the answer is for everyone to have guns and kill each other as needed, here's one example of why that's a bad idea, a GOP/TP guy shot a teacher with a rubber bullet during a training drill.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/29/pro-gun-republican-shoots-teacher-with-rubber-bullet-during-live-training-exercise/

This particular sharpshooter is all for guns in schools, even after he panics in a drill and shoots a teacher. You see yourself as John Wayne or Dirty Harry, you are not.

Here's a fun fact, if you think the bad guys get guns by stealing them, a common statement from my gun toting pals, you are wrong.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html

I know that far right wing media likes to push this Agenda 21, Obama is coming for your guns because he's a secret muslim commie, and I'll bet you my next paycheck that will never happen. I'll make the same bet about UFO's and Elvis sighting's.

But it sure scares Tea Party folks into buying more guns and ammo. Great sales ploy by the gun lobby. I also recommend you get the undercoating next time you buy a new car.

Obama hasn't put one new gun law forward and you know this, but I wish he would. I want background checks, today.

Here's something to chew on, Australia did a gun buyback after a mass shooting in 1996 and they haven't had one since.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2012/1224/Could-the-US-learn-from-Australia-s-gun-control-laws

So, while I still assume you are a responsible gun owner, you have not provided a solution to preventing the next Sandy Hook, Navy yard, or Aurora.

The two links you provide are certainly worth reviewing in the interest of getting all sides of an argument, but they are far from independent and leave out so many interesting things. This is typical of the right wing, take a problem that's "'yay" big, and focus on the one little corner that fits their narrative.

If you worry about a government database of gun ownership, let me leave you with this: There already is such a database.

http://www.drudge.com/news/171362/nra-built-massive-database-gun-owners
http://blog.chron.com/hottopics/2013/08/nra-created-secret-gun-database-on-millions-of-gun-owners/

If they have the very thing you fear, and in light of the recent disclosures about the NSA spying on all of us, how good do you feel about the NRA right now?

Fail.

infragt

Chet, might I assume you are a left wing extremist???

infragt

You sound like someone I know at work that has tunnel vision and is not open minded. Also, always in defense of Obama yet has really nothing to prove a point, since you brought up the Obama comment below. What has Obama accomplished that has bettered our country?? Doesn't Washington D.C. have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation? What do you propose would stop these tragedies? I'm sure you were ecstatic when some of the bogus news stations incorrectly reported that it was an AR-15 in the latest mass shooting. I would agree to a point that it is questionable why anyone would need an assault rifle in civilian life. Then again, I come from a country where government took control and people were defenseless. Don't ever presume it could never happen in our good old USA. The same thoughts were in the people of my former country. Do you give everyone that purchases a gun a psychological test? Let's get real.

Chet

So, pointing out that 90% of the American public supports background checks makes me a left wing extremist?

Do you consider 90% of the American public to be left wing extremists?

I'm a recovering libertarian, if you want to label me, but you're just using labels to distract from the facts, typical of people who realize the facts are not on their side.

I was rebutting the writers statements about being in the majority, and I was rebutting the usual right wing gun fetish extremist arguments about background checks and military style weapons.

A background check is not a psychological test. The Navy yard shooter had a history of shooting things and was still legally able to buy a gun.

I was not ecstatic when the type of gun was announced because I wasn't watching. I learned long ago that what is reported during and immediately after the mass shooting is wrong, why would I waste my time?

I wait until the police issue there reports, often days later.

I have Tea Party friends and family who say things like "You know the Sandy Hook shooter left the Bushmaster in the car" and that's not true. It was reported early on, but we later learned he used it to shoot his way through the security glass and then to murder 6 year olds.

They never bother to check to see if their statements are true.

Ignorance is dangerous. Fear is dangerous.

I want background checks, and so do the majority of Americans.

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