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October 24, 2014
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editorial

The right to bear missile launchers; Where do we draw the line?


For a majority of Americans, the time to set some limitations is now. But, how do we talk about where to draw the line when everyone is so riled up, when everyone is set in his or her own personal ideology, or keeps repeating some well-rehearsed dogma instead of trying to have a conversation?

Inflammatory language and hyperbole abound, including in New York State, where we have a brand new gun control law, NY SAFE. Take, for example, the comments of Town of Delaware board member Alfred Steppich, who has stated, “We should hold the governor [Cuomo] and the legislators in contempt of the Constitution, and try them for treason,” and then went on to invoke the specter of Hitler for what he indicated were Nazi-era gun ownership restrictions. (According to a 1994 book by the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, such gun restrictions allegedly contributed to Jewish extermination by the Nazis, an idea debunked by multiple sources including this recent article at www.salon.com/2013/01/11/stop_talking_about_hitler/.)

A gun rights rally in Albany, NY last week saw protest signs that compared Governor Cuomo to Hitler, and at least one sign that identified NY SAFE as doing the bidding of the United Nations. Already there are proposals to overturn the law.

Words that incite outrage are unnecessary, unhelpful and to many people unsettling, which is why remarks last week like those made by Pike County (PA) Sheriff Phillip Bueki were so refreshingly welcome, bringing a note of sanity to our region’s overheated gun discussion. Calling himself a “pro-gun” sheriff, Bueki nevertheless urged people to “calm down.” “I think the fear of people coming into your homes and taking your guns away and taking your rights away are unfounded,” he said.

We agree.

The time has come to shed more light and less heat on the gun rights/gun control discussion.

Finally, we would like to ask gun rights proponents to take a close look at America’s weapons arsenal and to indicate: Where would you draw the line?