Letters to the Editor



According to social media, the answer to the “mass shootings” in America is simple... “Put prayer back in school and it will end.” Seriously? How about, “We never had this problem 40 years ago when every other high school student had a rifle on the gun rack inside his pickup.” SERIOUSLY??!!

There are two extremes in America... those who want all firearms banned... and those who believe the answer is to “Arm all Americans.” I say there is plenty of room for a sensible compromise. But, as President Trump pointed out in his State of the Union Address, when there is compromise, neither side gets everything they want.

Another comment I heard was, “They banned guns in Australia and now the citizens can’t even hunt kangaroos!” To be fair, I actually RESEARCHED this and discovered that, after a series of mass shootings in the 1990’s, the federal government passed sweeping “gun restriction” laws that many did not like. Basically, a person who possesses a firearm must have a firearm license. Furthermore, license holders must demonstrate a “genuine reason” for holding a firearm license and must not be a “prohibited person.” A “genuine reason” can be anything from “a farmer protecting his livestock” to “being a member of a gun club.” Furthermore, firearms are categorized from the least lethal to the most lethal and there are fewer restrictions to owning a pellet gun than owning a higher caliber hunting rifle.

Even though statistics show that gun-related deaths are down considerably since the legislation, some Australian gun organizations dispute its effectiveness claiming that the two decades prior to the legislation had an abnormally high rate of mass shootings and things have simply leveled off. Even so, a poll taken in 2016 showed that 6% of Australian citizens thought the laws were “too strong,” 44% thought the laws were “about right,” and 45% thought the laws were “not strong enough.”

When groups cannot “police” themselves and, as a result, the public is at risk, it is the government who ultimately steps in to do it for them. A Canadian friend of mine (a conservative) commented to me, “After Sandy Hook, and the (U.S.) government did nothing, I totally gave up any hope for your country when it comes to mass shootings. This is something your country seems to be content to live with.” Sad but true.

Bill Hedrick

Kilgore, TX