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Columnist wrong to blame NRA

Are our elderly abused women and easily victimized populations not allowed to own a tool that will allow them to protect themselves from the victimizers?

Published on February 28, 2018 9:35AM

The Main Street column in the Feb. 21 edition seemed to push the narrative that the gun is at fault in the Florida school shooting, especially AR15 type rifles and high capacity magazines and the bad folks in the NRA.

The debate seems to suggest two ways to stop these shootings. One is to outlaw certain types of firearms and magazines. The second is to prevent the homicidal maniacs from getting any weapons and having access to our schools. This includes armed personnel in the schools.

Banning a specific type of firearm won’t do anything to solve the problem. Weapons can be modified, illegal guns acquired or other weapons substituted by any maniac who is determined to kill.

In the ‘30s, Marsh (Carbine) Williams, designed and built a semi-auto carbine in a prison workshop, while a prisoner. After being pardoned, he sold his rifle designs to Winchester and to the U.S. government.

Most shooters know the AR as a great firearm for target shooting and a really superior system for shooting varmints, like coyotes. Even the Department of Homeland Security (in their requisitions) ordered AR15 style rifles because they are necessary for “personal defense use in close quarters ...” and they specify 30-round magazines.

Dean Weingarten of Houston was attacked by three thugs as he sat on his porch May 6, 2017. They started shooting at him, he returned fire with his AR15.

More than 40 rounds were fired, and resulted in two dead attackers, one wounded, Dean was unharmed. If he had been limited to a six-shot revolver or a few rounds in a shotgun, the result probably would have been very different.

This country is beset by street gangs, drug gangs and home invasions. Are our elderly abused women and easily victimized populations not allowed to own a tool that will allow them to protect themselves from the victimizers?

The only effective solution to this problem is to identify and disarm the dangerous mental cases and violent criminals. The NRA has worked for decades to first institute a background check system and then to force the government to input the name of dangerous individuals to make that system work.

There are still 38 states that have not input a large percentage of offenders and adjudicated violent mental cases into the NICS system. We would not have the system if the NRA had not pushed politicians to approve it.

We have a political system that, in many cases, thinks it is more important to hide dangerous and insane people behind HIPPA laws than it is to protect public safety.

We have politicians who provide sanctuary to violent felons and gang members in our country illegally. President Obama pardoned hundreds convicted of violent drug and gun crimes.

The NRA has developed and funded a program called School Shield, which provides teams of law enforcement personnel to do a week-long assessment of a particular school, looking at facility, grounds, access, monitoring, training and policies.

They provide the school with detailed methods and ways to protect against school violence. This is free to the schools, paid for by those evil NRA members.

Please ask MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times and the other outlets demonizing the law-abiding gun owners in this country, ”what have you done to help schools protect the staff and students?”

In addition, the NRA has long assisted law enforcement with training programs and ranges to conduct training (like the Eagle Cap Shooters Association Range in Enterprise.)

The Parkland, Fla., shooting absolutely showed us how to prevent this type of shooting. We are told that there were 39 times that the Broward County Sheriff was warned that Nikolas Cruz was a danger and likely to kill people.

We are told that the school was so worried about him that they took several steps to control Cruz, not letting him carry a backpack to school and other precautions.

The FBI was warned at least twice that he was a potential school shooter and had made comments to that effect on social media. Why was he not on the “prohibited” list for firearms purchase? Why was he not involuntarily committed?

Once again, it is the person pulling the trigger, not whatever type of weapon he has in his hands. I hold the FBI, the county sheriff, the school and the mental health community at fault here. There is not one iota of evidence that any of the five million NRA members had any complicity.

The NRA should be thanked for attempting to put procedures in place to prevent this kind of tragedy. I have not even mentioned the Broward County School resource officer and deputies who apparently took cover outside the school while this homicidal maniac pursued his massacre.

Douglas Wickre resides in


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