Saturday February 2, 2013

Not all Democrats dismiss unfettered access to guns as ludicrous. Vermont has some of the least restrictive gun laws and ranks at the bottom for gun violence. Sure it is more rural but so are some Plains states that have the worst records on gun violence. Vermont is one of only four states that doesn’t require a permit to carry a concealed gun.

Before we make any changes to the gun laws, with the exception of re-instating the assault weapons ban of 1994, we need to take a closer look at how to prevent massacres. In Bennington, Vt. there are a growing number of social services. Is its approach to psychological health better? Are its group homes more effective?

Let’s get past the inane argument about what kills, guns or people, and agree that deranged people with guns kill more people than deranged people without guns. Fewer guns won’t solve this problem.

Should citizens of the commonwealth be forced to submit private mental health care data for gun permits as Governor Patrick wants or should we solve this problem more systemically? Is it smart to place disincentives for people considering seeking psychological help?

I propose that the Department of Homeland Security take over the responsibility of protecting us from deranged terrorists. Isn’t that their job and the reason we have already yielded rights that we once took for granted? The department needs to collect enough intelligence among insiders to intercept these people prior to their acts.

What can gun law proponents give up to solve this problem? Letting the Vermont concealed carry law work nationally? I don’t feel less safe or more safe when I travel to Bennington with its lack of restrictions on concealed weapons. More concealed weapons would likely control massacre damage. Why should anyone have to change their level of protection because they cross state lines?

Most people agree that access to assault weapons banned in 1994 and violent entertainment contribute to the surge in massacres. Maybe if we assure the slightly paranoid people of their right to bear arms by granting unrestricted concealed carry laws nationally, we can eliminate enough noise to solve this multi-faceted problem. This battle can be won in the middle but it must be done soon.

HUFF TEMPLETON III

Williamstown