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home : opinions : letters to the editor
November 15, 2019

10/26/2019 7:30:00 AM
Reader responds to 'confiscation of freedom' editorial

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to your editorial about the confiscation of freedom.

Gun control is a phony issue that you and others use to stir up people and have them revert back to their respective tribes. After every mass shooting, the Democrats scream gun control, and the Republicans say the victims are in their thoughts and prayers. In a week or two, everything goes back to normal until the next mass shooting. The U.S. Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald said that there is a constitutionally protected right to have handguns.

If you look at crimes, and suicides committed with guns, the vast majority of them are committed with handguns. People get all excited about mass shootings, but when you look at the body counts, those attributed to handguns dwarf the numbers killed in mass shootings.

I agree that mandatory buyback laws would be a bad idea. When pointing fingers at liberals and conservatives, you have to remember that conservative Donald Trump banned bump stocks after there was only one mass shooting using them. I did a rough calculation. It costs about $36,000 per hour to operate a bump stock.

Would a mandatory buyback program be constitutional? If I had to bet, I would bet it would be. Duly noting it would have to get through the legislature or the congress. The chances of that are slim and none. The basis for believing such plans to be found constitutional is that the Supreme Court has chosen not to hear cases where bans on AR15s were upheld by lower courts.

We do have a 4th Amendment. The author of the editorial violated one of the first rules of writing about something. Particularly, you should know what you're writing about. The 4th amendment forbids searches and seizures unless there is a warrant. To get a warrant, the state must go before a neutral magistrate and show probable cause that a crime was committed. Saying the police will go door to door confiscating guns is just a piece of false propaganda put out by those people uninterested in the truth and interested in riling people up.

You said the military may be used to go door to door. You neglect the fact that the military is forbidden from doing police work against civilians. The notion of the military going door to door is absurd.

There was a federal ban on assault weapons. During the ban, one of the guns used at Columbine was designed around that ban. After the ban expired, the crime rate went down.

To compare what happened in the Weimar Republic of Germany to the U.S. is just pathetic. The author could benefit from watching a few episodes of "Sesame Street" where they do the same and different. The U.S. had a ban on assault rifles for 10 years. The Nazis did not take over. Guns have more or less been banned in Australia and New Zealand. No death of freedom.

The most glaring example of the author's violating the rule about knowing about the subject you are writing about is their characterization of red flag laws.

In the era of Trump thought processes, that is, if someone says something you want to be true that makes it true, I understand where the author is coming from.

It is difficult to speak in specifics about a Wisconsin statute which does not exist. If red flag laws had existed in Colorado and California at the time, the Aurora and Garlic Festival shootings would not have occurred.

You reference current civil commitment statutes. What those statutes require is the person in question be mentally ill. What constitutes mental illness varies from county to county. Red flag laws are designed to fill the gap between what is mental illness and criminal behavior.

It is flat out false to say there is due process in red flag laws. The process is started by the police or people who have recently lived with the subject of the red flag law filing a petition with a court. If the petition is adequate on its face, the judge will sign an order for the police to pick up a subject's guns. If at this point Sheriff Hartman would direct his deputies not to pick up the guns, he might well soon find himself in jail just like Kim Davis did when she refused to issue marriage licenses.

Within a couple of weeks, there would be a hearing on the petition (due process). The burden of proof would be on the person who filed the petition. Many at this point would say you have to prove yourself innocent. No, the burden of proof is on the petitioner. In some states, an unsuccessful petitioner must pay the costs of the subject's attorney fees.

After the hearing, the judge will make a decision. That is due process.

After Connecticut enacted the red flag laws, suicides went down 7.5 percent. There are about 15,000 gun suicides each year in the U.S. Extrapolating the Connecticut results to the whole U.S., that would be 1,125 fewer suicides if every state enacted a red flag law.

The author finishes the article with a silly bit about emboldening criminals. Please advise me as to one time that a law-abiding citizen shot it out with a criminal using an AR-15 or AK-47.

If you are going to write editorials, they would be a lot more effective if you used the truth, and actually knew what you are writing about.



Frederick J. Voss

Rhinelander







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