Letter: NRA has lost any grip it ever had on reason or intelligence


To the editor,

Fran Brelsford’s Feb. 28 column, “Gun-control legislation is a diversion from real problems facing nation,” offered the same shopworn National Rifle Association (NRA) talking points that we’ve been hearing for a long time. That said, it’s still worth considering a few of her points.

There are those who insist that the original intent of the Second Amendment would allow ordinary citizens to wield firepower equal to or exceeding the power of local police or the federal government and that we must adhere scrupulously to that original intent. I would remind them that we have reconsidered, debated and, in some cases, rewritten essential provisions of the Constitution throughout our history. No original amendment addressed the buying and selling of humans into slavery. Nor did any original amendment address the fact that the female half of the population had no voting rights.

Over time we addressed those injustices. It is entirely reasonable to debate the Second Amendment language of the musket era and its application in the context of modern weaponry. The U.S. Army requires basic training to operate and handle assault weapons. If an individual wants to wield military weapons, he or she can join the army. You’ll get good training and probably a psychological evaluation to see if you’re fit. I have to show my license and present a signature to purchase Sudafed. I don’t see mass demonstrations against this as a constraint of commerce.

The NRA has long maintained that guns don’t kill people--people do. Yes, that’s true. And we can elaborate on that: crazy people who acquire military-grade weapons and lots of bullets kill lots of people  quickly. Ms. Berlsford doesn’t concede that reasonable people may support public policy measures to address gun massacres like Newtown or Aurora. To her, the motivations are far more sinister: “politicians don’t like the Second Amendment and really wish to chip away little by little any rights we have to be free.”

Aha! Now we see what’s really going on. Those political figures who would suggest that a movement toward gun sanity is overdue simply hate freedom. This is so sad in its ignorance of our history and so damaging to the spirit of open-mindedness and compromise required in public discourse that she should consider another line of work.

Ms. Berlesford spent some ink doing the bidding of the gun industry’s lucrative fear machine. In her last sentence she offered the following threat to those who would, as she imagines, rewrite the 2nd Amendment: “Go ahead, make the change, I dare you.” She has gone out of her way to demonstrate how the NRA has lost any grip it ever had on reason or intelligence.

Ned Connors



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"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them which would include their own government." ~George Washington

And that is why the NRA and the Second Amendment is relevant!

Sunday, March 10, 2013 | Report this

Subject: The Fight against the Sakonnet Bridge tolls is still on and nothing has changed.

The Friday, March 8 story in the Providence Journal Story about the Thursday House Finance Committee hearings has given many the wrong impression about our effort to reverse the decision to toll the Sakonnet Bridge. The decision has not been made, and the efforts of the STOP Committee to stop the toll continues unabated. It has been a long hard campaign, one that began in October of last year, but we have made substantial progress and our campaign is going very well. We have a very good chance to reverse last year’s law establishing the tolls. We must not lose heart.

There are presently FIVE bills in the Assembly to reverse the decision to toll the Sakonnet

Bridge and those opposed to the tolls remain fully engaged. Our success critically depends upon citizen turnout at the Assembly for the House Finance Committee Hearing in late March or early April. The brutal fact of life in the Assembly is that numbers count for everything. If we get a big crowd we have a chance. We need everyone’s continued support.

Now with 31,000 + signatures on a petition opposing the tolls, a successful media campaign and the remarkably successful DOT hearings in Portsmouth and Tiverton, we in East Bay have been able to turn this situation around. I would like to remind everyone that the State asked to toll route 95, but because it was a Federal Highway, they were turned down. But rout 146 is not.

When our Representatives inform us when the Finance Committee in the House of Representatives hearing is set, usually starts between 1:00 and 4:00 PM in the RI Statehouse in Providence, we must move quickly. We will let you know through the news papers, radio, fliers and personal e-mails. If you are willing and able, please come and show your opposition and support those who will testify.

Buses or vans will be provided, and will leave the Stop and Shop in Middletown, Clements Market on East Main Road Portsmouth, and the Park and Ride parking lot on Fish Road inTiverton. Times will be announced when we know them.



Please call Jeanne Smith at 401-683-1764 or e-mail at notolljeanne@cox.net, to let us know your

coming.We have come a long way; lets’ get this thing done!

Jeanne Smith, STOP Committee

Antone Viveiros, Chairman

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | Report this

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.