I need help with a letter to the editor of my school paper...


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Moparmike
September 15, 2004, 09:32 PM
Editorial about AWB:
It's probably best that the ban on assault weapons expired yesterday. There haven't been enough cases of terror or hostage situations within our borders, so it's about time we threw our neighborhood criminals a bone.

Unfortunately, that mentality isn't too unheard of. Gun advocates might tout their right to bear arms, but a line was drawn a decade ago that should have satisfied both sides of that argument. Naturally, an American citizen should have the right to defend his or her family. And surely, anyone should be able to hunt game and fire some weapons for sport, but who could actually benefit from high-powered combat weapons? What family is under such aggressive attack as to constitute a machine gun?

Not to mention an already-devastating battle to keep American schools safe. One need only think of the series of school shootings that transformed the way parents decide where to send their children. Imagine the damage a troubled teen could do if he or she were to obtain an AK-47.

In the meantime, the Bush administration looks the other way while continuing to tighten "homeland security" and taking away basic American rights under the Patriot Act. While assault weapons can now be made ready-to-order, the government can snoop and violate privacy rights for our "own good." But the government probably knows what's best for everyone, right?

Prior to the ban's expiration, the nation touted a drop in crime, a trend that should have pointed to the effectiveness of the regulations.

Bush promised during his election bid in 2000 to continue support of the ban should it reappear on his desk, but nothing has since been done.

Further, Democrats are hesitant to take a position for fear of losing backing as they have in the past. But Sen. John Kerry has taken this opportunity to criticize his opponent.

"Today George Bush chose to make the job of terrorists easier and to make the job of America's police officers harder, and that's just plain wrong," he said.

Kerry's statement points out the hypocritical nature of the Bush administration. While Bush may not have had direct control over the fate of the ban, he hid behind his Republican collegues in Washington and failed to take necessary measures to encure public saftey in American streets and communities.

When confronted about his abandoned attempts to keep assault weapons off city streets, Bush representatives say he has little to do with that type of legislative process.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the president "does not set the legislative timetable."

Maybe he overlooked relentless efforts by the President to pass legislation banning gay marriage or late-term pregnancy abortions. Obviously, the President's got it in him to fight for SOMETHING.

But Bush chose the votes of his friends at the National Rifle Association over the voices of concerned parents and frightened civilians. The next logical step for the Bush administration would be to push for the passage of legislation that would eliminate background checks for people buying guns. After all, anyone seeking to use a high-powered weapon likely doesn't have any time to waste.

A major arbuement of the Bush campaign has been the safety of Americans in an age of immanent and lurking threat. Our phones can be legally tapped and our e-mails searched for fishy language, but now nothing prevents a disgruntled worker from purchasing an automatic weapon. It seems the last thing America needs following terrorist attacks and an unpopular foriegn war is more easily accessible deadly weapons. (:cuss: :fire: )

Perhaps a major difference in American society and those dominated by guerrillas and terror groups is the accessibility of deadly weapons. Hopefully Congress will come to its senses before the families of crime victims long for the days of governmental protection from militant killers stockpiling weapons next door.:barf: :barf: :barf:

And my letter:
After reading the editorial about the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban”, I felt that I must write to dispel the myths and falsehoods presented as facts.

First, the Assault Weapons Ban has no effect on machine guns, which can fire more than one bullet per trigger squeeze. These firearms have been HIGHLY regulated and almost impossible to get without lots of cash and ATF red tape since 1934.

Second, criminals do not use semi-automatic firearms purchased in a gun store, where a background check, conducted through the FBI, is performed. They buy guns off the streets where felons are not prosecuted for buying a gun illegally. Yet, legal firearm enthusiasts are blamed and punished.

Third, AK-47’s have been banned from importation since 1989, through an executive order from President George H.W. Bush.

Fourth, terrorists have readily accessible fully-automatic assault rifles in their home countries that can be purchased for less than $100, unlike the $500-1200 semi-automatic clones seen in the US. It would be quite easy to smuggle one across the US-Mexico border. Buying one here would be outright stupid.

Fifth, a search of FBI crime statistics would point out that “assault weapons” were used in less than 2% of crimes before the ban and during the ban.

Sixth, if the writer of the editorial would have done any research at all, he/she would know that the ban was strictly cosmetic. It banned features that added nothing to the accuracy or potency of the ammunition being fired, and that had never been used in helping to commit a crime. Would anyone care to tell me about the plague of drive-by bayonetings in 1993? Of course not, because it never happened. The AWB was a feel-good law, plain and simple. Anyone who thinks different is deluding themselves and ignoring the facts.

Why is the writer calling them “high powered”? The main caliber of the AR-15 (a semi-automatic M-16 clone) is 5.56mm, or .223 inches. It isn’t even legal to use for deer hunting because of how weak it is!

And I take personal insult at the insinuation that because one collects firearms that he or she automatically becomes a “militant killer.” This paper is representative of an education institution. Lies, myths and slander perpetuated as truth are things that should never find its way here.
I need to shrink it down to 300 words. It is currently at 383, and that was after I decided against a few things.

Any ideas?


Thanks,
MIke

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Vern Humphrey
September 15, 2004, 09:38 PM
272 Words:

***********************************************
After reading the editorial about the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban”, I felt that I must write to dispel the myths and falsehoods presented as facts.

First, the Assault Weapons Ban has no effect on machine guns, which can fire more than one bullet per trigger squeeze. These firearms have been HIGHLY regulated and almost impossible to get without lots of cash and ATF red tape since 1934.

Second, criminals do not use semi-automatic firearms purchased in a gun store, where a background check, conducted through the FBI, is performed. They buy guns off the streets where felons are not prosecuted for buying a gun illegally. Yet, legal firearm enthusiasts are blamed and punished.

Third, AK-47’s have been banned from importation since 1989, through an executive order from President George H.W. Bush.

Fourth, terrorists have readily accessible fully-automatic assault rifles in their home countries that can be purchased for less than $100, unlike the $500-1200 semi-automatic clones seen in the US. It would be quite easy to smuggle one across the US-Mexico border. Buying one here would be outright stupid.

Fifth, a search of FBI crime statistics would point out that “assault weapons” were used in less than 2% of crimes before the ban and during the ban.

Sixth, if the writer of the editorial would have done any research at all, he/she would know that the ban was strictly cosmetic. It banned features such as a bayonet lug. Would anyone care to tell me about the plague of drive-by bayonetings in 1993?

The AWB was a feel-good law, plain and simple. Anyone who thinks different is deluding themselves and ignoring the facts.

BowStreetRunner
September 15, 2004, 09:42 PM
::::taking away basic American rights:::::

indeed:rolleyes:

PromptCritical
September 15, 2004, 09:44 PM
I see only one problem with your response. You give to much information. You know too much about the issue. You know too much about guns. Anyone who knows that much about guns is a psychotic gun nut and not worthy of time or respect.
/sarcasm off

Other than that, quite good. Do you think they'll print it?

Moparmike
September 15, 2004, 09:47 PM
Thanks Vern. BTW, why take out the part about being insulted?

Other than that, quite good. Do you think they'll print it?Yeah, I think they will. If they dont, I can probably raise a big enough stink about it.



Maybe I will start up a gun club. :D

Andrew Rothman
September 15, 2004, 09:52 PM
Bold: my additions
tiny: my subtractions

After reading tThe editorial about the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban” presented many , I felt that I must write to dispel the myths and falsehoods presented as facts.

First, the Assault Weapons Ban has no effect on machine guns, which can fire more than one bullet per trigger squeeze. These firearms have been HIGHLY regulated and almost impossible to get without lots of cash and ATF red tape since 1934.

Second, criminals do not use semi-automatic firearms purchased in a gun store, where a background check, conducted through the FBI, is performed. They buy guns off the streets where felons are not prosecuted for buying a gun illegally. Yet, legal firearm enthusiasts are blamed and punished.

Third, AK-47’s have been banned from importation since 1989, through an executive order from President George H.W. Bush.

Fourth, terrorists have readily accessible fully-automatic assault rifles in their home countries that can be purchased for less than $100, unlike the $500-1200 semi-automatic clones seen in the US. It would be quite easy to smuggle one across the US-Mexico border. Buying one here would be outright stupid.

Fifth, a search of FBI crime statistics would point out reveal that “assault weapons” were used in less than 2% two percent of crimes, both before the ban and during the ban.

Sixth, if the writer of the editorial would have had done any research at all, he/she would know realize that the ban was strictly cosmetic. It banned features such as [/size=1]a[/size] bayonet lugs. Would anyone care to tell me about the Was there a plague of drive-by bayonetings in 1993?

The AWB was a feel-good law, plain and simple. To believe otherwiseAnyone who thinks different is deluding themselves and ignoring is to ignore the facts.

Vern Humphrey
September 15, 2004, 09:53 PM
Quote:
----------------------------------
BTW, why take out the part about being insulted?
----------------------------------

Because you aren't insulted. You can't be insulted by ignorant people. You're merely saddened at their lack of knowledge and lack of research.:D

Moparmike
September 15, 2004, 10:16 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions!

Last edit:
After reading the editorial about the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban”, I felt that I must write to dispel the myths and falsehoods presented as facts.

First, the Assault Weapons Ban has no effect on machine guns, which can fire more than one bullet per trigger squeeze. These firearms have been HIGHLY regulated and almost impossible to get without lots of cash and ATF red tape since 1934.

Second, criminals do not use semi-automatic firearms purchased in a gun store, where a background check, conducted through the FBI, is performed. They buy guns off the streets where felons are not prosecuted for buying a gun illegally. Yet, legal firearm enthusiasts are blamed and punished.

Third, AK-47’s have been banned from importation since 1989, through an executive order from President George H.W. Bush.

Fourth, terrorists have readily accessible fully-automatic assault rifles in their home countries that can be purchased for less than $100, unlike the $500-1200 semi-automatic clones seen in the US. It would be quite easy to smuggle one across the US-Mexico border. Buying one here would be outright stupid.

Fifth, a search of FBI crime statistics would reveal that “assault weapons” were used in less than two percent of crimes before the ban and during the ban.

Sixth, if the writer of the editorial would have done any research at all, he/she would know that the ban was strictly cosmetic. It banned features such as a bayonet lug. Was there a plague of drive-by bayonetings in 1993 to prompt this ban?

Seventh, I take personal insult at the insinuation that a firearm enthusiast is a “militant killer.” Owning guns no more makes one a killer than owning computers makes one a hacker.

The AWB was a feel-good law, plain and simple. To believe otherwise is to ignore the facts.


Any last-minute ideas before I send it off?

Andrew Rothman
September 15, 2004, 11:07 PM
Your grammar is off in "...if the writer of the editorial would have done any research at all..."

A correction would have is been already suggested. :D

There is no apostrophe in AK-47's.

Then it's good to go.

Moparmike
September 15, 2004, 11:11 PM
That be da ways I's talks. :D


Done and done.

MAURICE
September 15, 2004, 11:13 PM
Maybe I will start up a gun club.
Count me in!!!
In all seriousness, Im not attending school at the moment, but will be re-enrolling in January. If you want to start a club at UofA let me know. I am interested. :D

Good luck on the letter as well. Let us know what happens.

Robert

gaston_45
September 16, 2004, 01:09 AM
Seventh, I take exception with the insinuation that a firearm enthusiast is a “militant killer.” Owning guns no more makes one a killer than owning computers makes one a hacker.

You cannot take insult, it can only be given by the other person. You can, however, take exception with an action, or you could be insulted by the insinuation, that would work also.

Old Fuff
September 16, 2004, 10:08 AM
I’m probably getting into this too late, but anyway ….

Most people who are not gun owners, and are concerned because of the media hype, will not be interested in your arguments, even though you are right. I would change directions a bit and point out the following …

The “anti’s” position is that what they like to call “ordinary citizens” have no business owning “rapid fire, military style assault weapons that are only good for killing people.” They are using this highly emotional approach to scare people into believing what they want them too.

First I would (like you did) point out that the guns in questions are not machine guns. They only fire one cartridge with each pull of the trigger.

Second, the AWB was not a real ban. It only prohibited a few specific models and certain cosmetic features such as bayonet lugs (what criminal is concerned with this?) and flash hiders (which again are of no consequence). In addition the ban didn’t touch the literally millions of guns that were made before 1994.

During the past decade manufacturers and importers added approximately three million guns to the total (exact numbers are hard to come by because the term “assault weapon” is not well defined.) In addition large capacity magazine made before 1994 remained legal and available, but usually at higher prices. Bottom line: The number of guns of this kind did not go down, they increased by substantial numbers.

So who was buying (or otherwise) obtaining them? Criminals and terrorists? Not really. No, they were being purchased by individuals who were interested in shooting them at targets or simply as collector’s items. Others bought them for personal protection – especially in remote rural areas where law enforcement response to a 911 call might be measured in hours rather then minutes. If you think this is a phony argument ask the ranchers and others that live in isolated places along the U.S./Mexican border.

But the main point of my argument is that while the number of these guns was going up, government statistics show that they’re use by criminals decreased. The anti’s have trumped the drop in criminal use (which never exceeded 2% of the total of guns used by criminals anyway) while ignoring the fact that the availability of such firearms was actually increasing. Obviously if the ban was really impinging on criminals it would be necessary for the ban to decrease the available supply – which it didn’t.

All of this is much too long for your purposes, but it may give you another perspective you can use. But push the point that the number of these guns was substantial in the first place, that during the past ten years when the ban(?) was in effect the total number of guns increased, while criminal use decreased, and that more then 98% of the guns are owned by law-abiding gun hobbyists, not criminals and terrorists.

Would we ban automobiles because a small percentage might be used by criminals or those who would drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

Darkmind
September 16, 2004, 10:19 AM
Please keep us updated on the outcome of this letter. I would really like to see what happens.

rageman
September 16, 2004, 10:21 AM
This is kind of OT from the original poster's request, but I thought I would share with all of you that I got a reply printed in my school's paper for an editorial they printed on Tuesday. (School is Univ. Of Illinois Urbana Champaign, a far more restrictive place than my homestate of Florida. :()

Editorial:
Designed for Killing 9/14/04
On Monday, a federal ban on assault weapons expired without significant push for renewal or reform. While gun advocates say this is a major victory for the Second Amendment, we firmly stand against the ownership of military-style, semi-automatic weapons for private use.

In contrast to guns used in hunting or for self-defense, a gun designed for rapid firing is only meant for killing mass numbers of individuals quickly and efficiently. Assault weapons are offensive rather than defensive, and ownership of them should be heavily regulated.

The purpose behind the Second Amendment was to give ordinary citizens the power to rise up against an oppressive government. But times have changed, and such a purpose is supportive of anarchy at best.

Gun ownership overall has the potential to cause more harm than good. Studies have shown that those who keep guns at home are more likely to harm themselves or members of their own household than to harm an attacker.

Furthermore, removing the assault weapons ban only makes it easier for criminals to obtain such weapons. In anticipation of the ban's expiration, several gun manufacturers have prepared semi-automatic conversion kits that ship as early as today. And while opponents of the ban say assault weapons have always been used in only a small percentage of crimes, any fatality from them is one too many.

Part of the reason for the ban's lapse comes from Democrats who believe support of the bill will lead to the loss of rural votes in an election year. Another reason is that the ban itself was not effective in deterring the use of assault weapons because of loopholes that allowed for simple modifications to enable semi-automatic firing of legal weapons.

Now that assault weapons are legal, mandatory safety and operations training should be required before a permit is issued.

Furthermore, the government should offer incentives for discontinuing the use of assault weapons. One proposed solution is to create a buyback program that gives money in exchange for assault weapons. Such a program could target areas where gun ownership is a result of desperation rather than for recreational purposes.

Finally, the use of gun locks should be encouraged to add another layer of safety and security to assault weapons. Gun advocates say such locks add unnecessary barriers to those who plan to use them in self-defense. However, we highly question the rate of crime prevention among those who keep loaded weapons in easy-to-access areas.

Ultimately, assault weapons should not be privately owned, because the purpose of their design is inappropriate for private use. But rather than view the ban's expiration as a defeat, gun-control advocates should use it as an opportunity for some major reform.

And my response:
Regarding Tuesday's Opinion piece, “Designed for Killing,” I am surprised that the editors of a college newspaper would be so ignorant of an important issue. First of all, the deceased ban doesn't affect the functionality of firearms one whit. The editor continually confuses “semi-automatic” (not affected by the ban) and “automatic” (controlled since 1934, prohibited from manufacture since 1986, and not affected by the ban). No manufacturers are preparing “semi-automatic conversion kits that ship as early as today [Tuesday],” since semi-automatic guns (one trigger pull, one shot fired) have always been legal to own. The so-called “Assault Weapons Ban” merely restricts purely cosmetic features and thus only hurts collectors.

And while times have changed since the 2nd amendment was passed, don't cheapen the Constitution by attempting to repeal amendments without going through the proper processes (another constitutional amendment). Otherwise, we end up with more “free speech zones” and less “Congress shall make no law. . .abridging the freedom of speech. . .or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”

Unfortunately I was the only response printed today.. usually if an article pisses people off there might be as many as 4-5 responses printed per day for an entire week.

Moparmike
September 16, 2004, 07:07 PM
Thanks all. I had originally planned to use a car analagy, like "Today's super fast cars are death machines. I think we should ban all wheels above 16" in diameter and ban high-flow exhausts and K&N air filters. It would make about as much sense."



I got a call today from the editor for confirmation of my letter to print. They want to make sure its me and not someone else sending letters under my name. Should be in tomorrow's paper. I will let you know if there are any other letters about the AWB and responses I get to it. It will probably be Wednesday for the responses.

Moparmike
September 22, 2004, 08:27 PM
Good news everyone!
http://www.tv-kult.com/futurama/bilder/charaktere/professor.jpg


I was but the first with a letter reguarding just how bad the editorial was. My letter and another published on Friday, another 2 on Monday, and 4 today. The "LttE" section were nothing but AWB letters on Friday and today, Wednesday. And they have ALL been pro-sunset! w00t! I can't believe it!

*jumps, clicks heels*:D

MAURICE
September 22, 2004, 08:33 PM
Hey Mike,
Are there any spare copies of the paper laying around? I would love to get my hands on one.
Robert

BTW: Love the Futurama reference. Watch that and Family Guy religiously.

Moparmike
September 22, 2004, 08:38 PM
Just today's. Unfortunately, they dont put the LttE on the Traveler's website anymore. :(

Greg L
September 22, 2004, 08:40 PM
(coming to this late - congrats on the letter btw ;) )

Thankfully there were many revisions suggested so I got to read the letter again and again and again. You see, I read And I take personal insult at the insinuation that because one collects firearms that he or she automatically becomes a “militant killer.”

as "mutant killer" & was having a hard time wrapping my mind around that one :rolleyes: :D .

Greg

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