Letter: What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

Editor of the Reformer:

I am the president of the Gun Owners of Vermont a pro Article 16, 2nd Amendment association comprising thousands of Vermonters on this issue.

A recent letter writer ("Rights come with responsibilities," Jan. 23) is a board member and the treasurer of GunSense Vermont, an anti-gun organization funded by Michael Bloomberg, the same person who just spent $1 million in the state of Maine for a ballot initiative that is currently being investigated for voter fraud.

So now let's get to the truth instead of the rhetoric that either the letter writer or one of his professional writers have written here. Your statement: "The Violence Policy Center recently reported that in 2014 there were 21 states where gun deaths (suicide, homicide and accidental) exceeded motor vehicle deaths. Vermont is one of these states. In 2014 there were 69 gun deaths and 49 motor vehicle deaths."

To begin with the Violence Policy Center is not a federal agency it is a private organization which comes up with the numbers that the person who pays them wants. Your statement is also misleading. How many car accidents happen in Vermont? That number goes into the hundreds. The average for murders in Vermont is 2.5 per year. In recent memory there has been only one accidental death due to firearms. You have also included suicides, which in itself is a tragedy to the friends and families of those people. What is your organization doing about this kind of thing? You're trying to take everyone's firearms away which is the wrong thing to do. We at the Gun Owners of Vermont in conjunction with other sporting organizations, the Vermont Department of Mental Health and other suicide prevention organizations, are starting a proactive program to actually help these people.

Your statement: "We've taken many measures to reduce the likelihood of motor vehicle deaths at both state and federal levels — drivers need to be licensed, seat belts are required, speeds are limited, police enforce DUI and other laws and the vehicles themselves are required by federal regulations to be much safer than they used to be."

OK if you want to compare apples to oranges let's do it. Just across the river in New Hampshire they do not require seat belts or insurance and their accident rate is about the same as ours. Comparing this to firearms in the real world I would say a firearm is safer than a car. All firearms are designed to do one thing. To expel a bullet when you pull the trigger. For over 100 years the manufacturers have made them safer by incorporating transfer bars, firing pin blocks and safeties on their products. Firearms and cars can both be purchased without a license, registration or insurance in Vermont. Now comes the fun part. If you purchase a car at a dealer you do not have to go through a background check and there is no age limit. If you purchase a firearm you do. The age limit by federal law is 18 for rifles and shotguns and 21 for handguns. You can't even purchase ammunition till your 18.

Your statement: "We could disallow those who should not have guns (violent felons, those adjudicated to be mentally ill and a threat to themselves and others, domestic abusers) just as we disallow repeat DUI offenders from driving." Everything you are listing is already against federal law and more. Such as a person on medical marijuana. By Vermont statute. Violent criminals those adjudicated a danger to themselves and others and domestic abusers are also barred.

I have said this before and will continue to say it. I will debate you or any other member of your organization at any time or place. What are your fears about this? What are you trying to hide?

Ed Cutler, President, Gun Owners of Vermont, Jan. 25


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