Op-Ed By Dominick Agron
Until Sandy Hook, I’ve pretty much stayed on the sidelines on the gun debate; however, after unraveling over 60 pages of complex intertwined regulation that seems to be a chapter right from Mein Kampf which turns the most law abiding grandfather into a criminal and confiscates their personal property, I decided to attend my very first public hearing on March 14th in my entire life. It was an eye opening experience.
After waiting almost seven hours and listening to a series of three minute speeches and cross-examination before being called to speak, I learned several things:
• Our legislature body developed all these proposed regulations without even seeing the Sandy Hook Police report. Now how can our legislature draft rules to reduce gun violence without even seeing the police report?
• The timing of the release of these proposals is suspect. They were released for public hearing to coincide the with three-month anniversary of Sandy Hook, come shortly after Vice-President Biden’s visit with Governor Malloy, and preempted the Governor’s own bi-partisan task force recommendations. Call me cynical, but something doesn’t sound right here.
• Out of all the testimony, only two people: The mayor of Norwalk and an anti-gun lobbyist who supposedly represents 65,000 Connecticut residents recommended changing gun laws. They went as far as saying:
• Assault bans don’t go far enough. All guns should be banned
• The government should confiscate the guns. When cross-examined and asked about the constitutionality of seizing property after changing the laws without remuneration, his reply was ‘yes, we could. We did in the last during prohibition’. Well, we know what happened during prohibition. It’s scary that someone is actually recommending that we roll back the clock to the age of prohibition
• When cross examined by our legislature on whether he or his group has even considered mental health was part of the problem. He responded, ‘that is not my area of expertise and have not considered’
• All the others acknowledge that the issue is broader and we need to do better in enforcing the laws already on the books. I encourage you to listen to the entire testimony which can be found on CT’s website at http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/webstream.asp?odID=8800&odTitle=Public%20Safety%20%26%20Security%20Committee%20March%2014th%20Public%20Hearing&caption=true
I am not a ‘gun-nut,’ but when I hear comments like that, it just runs chills up my spine. Mayor Bloomberg, Mayors of Connecticut, everyone else that is quick to abolish guns, we as a society are missing the bigger picture.
No one can deny the deplorable acts of a madman in Newtown during the recent December morn, but the solution is not with the automobile, but the person driving the wheel. If you truly want to make a difference, you are missing the root cause. No matter how hard we try, we cannot legislate morality. Instead, we need to provide the funding to adequately treat our troubled youth and mentally ill. We all need to be better parents, drop the iPhones, and spend time with our children to teach them family values, develop them, and recognize our shortfalls as humans and seek professional help when problems are beyond what we can solve within the family. More importantly, as parents, we also need to limit the amount of time a child can spend playing violent video games. We need to limit the number of hours in a week that someone can watch violent TV. We also need to legislate the number of violent movies that can be released in a year. We need to prohibit sellers like Amazon from plastering advertisements for violent video games such as the Call of Duty on every outgoing package, and we need to limit free speech that promotes violence. But the latter points would violate the First Amendment and would be wrong.
Gun owners are not evil people; they are average people with a strong patriotic heritage. They are businessmen, parents, and ordinary people just like you. But the proposed legislation really doesn’t tackle the problem. We can take the easy way out and blame this on guns and take away the rights of legal owners. We can demonize gun owners, make them all seem like redneck gun-toting cowboys, but are we really doing anything to solve the problem and protect our children when we do this? I say no.
Our founding Fathers introduced the Second Amendment to ensure that a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The Second Amendment is as important to our survival as a free nation as the First Amendment. If anyone has any doubt, I ask you to pull out your history books, take a few minutes to watch one of the many documentaries of the Third Reich on the History Channel or look at Syria or North Korea.
I ask our elected officials to not take the easy way out and hide behind the acts of a madman. Let’s acknowledge the fact we have to better enforce the laws we have; that we have a failed mental health care system; and, we, as parents, need to do a better job parenting. I haven’t seen a single piece of proposed legislation that will stop or deter gun violence. We owe it to ourselves and more importantly, to our children, not to rush, not to do something because of political aspirations or promises by the White House, and NOT to do something until you at least receive and study the Sandy Hook police report.
(Dominick Agron resides in Easton, Connecticut)