To the editor: Guns, politics and manufactured fear — let’s change this

Posted 11/9/23

Let’s be true. When IRS investigators and agents try to collect back taxes from wealthy cheaters and scofflaws, the government is not the enemy. When the BLM tries to collect rent payments …

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To the editor: Guns, politics and manufactured fear — let’s change this

Posted

Let’s be true. When IRS investigators and agents try to collect back taxes from wealthy cheaters and scofflaws, the government is not the enemy. When the BLM tries to collect rent payments for the use of contracted federal grazing land, the government is not the enemy. When the Department of Justice decides, after a vote by a grand jury, to indict someone, the government is not the enemy.  Have federal officials made errors in the conduct of their legal duties? Of course. But occasional errors do not prove that the government is the enemy. So, let’s be real. The “Deep State” is a phrase invented to create uncertainty and fear throughout America.

Turning to guns in America: Anyone who claims that “the deep state government is coming for your guns” is wrong. This is a claim without evidence. To protect gun owners our states should have policies to provide a pathway for individuals to legally own firearms. As auto, motorcycle, and truck drivers must have training and testing prior to obtaining a license, so too should gun owners have licenses. But the gun industry is against all gun regulations. 

The gun industry and the NRA have worked tirelessly to have us believe that life is so dangerous that arming oneself is essential. Their campaign contributions have co-opted many state and federal elected leaders. So, we now have automatic firearms, designed for military use, in the hands of millions of Americans. Training? No. Testing? No. Open carry laws and stand your ground laws have pitted, in the popular culture, “good guys” against “bad guys.” These laws are sponsored by the gun lobby. It is the gun lobby that has helped the gun industry earn untold millions thanks to their clever marketing based on manufactured fear. This is the same gun industry that is immune from lawsuits deriving from the illegal use of their weapons in the wrong hands.

Assuming, as I do, that some Americans have purchased automatic weapons in a kind of post-mass shooting panic, the government should mount a simple no-questions-asked buyback program that would reduce their numbers. Free locks could be provided owners who prefer to retain them. In the future, gun sales (all military-styled, automatic weapons would be banned) would be registered at the source, subject to background checks and a seven-day waiting period, and sold only to individuals who had obtained a state license from their local police department. Sellers would be required to offer safety and firearms training to all customers, included in the sales price. Too much?  What then? 

The Second Amendment codifies the right to bear arms, but not immediately, not automatic weapons, not without common sense safeguards. We need to be true about this subject before L.L. Bean, e.g., has no choice but to place Kevlar in all their puffy vests. Yikes!

Will Newman

Tiverton

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.