Stronger laws for violent people

To the editor:

I’m one of those who believe that firearms don’t kill people but that it’s people who kill people. A firearm is an inanimate object with no thought process or ability to discharge on its own. It’s the person holding the firearm who brings this part to the equation.

That said, why is it that our elected representatives forge ahead with knee-jerk proposals addressing certain types of firearms and certain types of magazines? They do this because the citizenry demands they do something and the quickest way to accomplish something, or anything, is to ban those nasty-looking rifles that conjure up images of war and those equally nasty-looking magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

I’m not an advocate for these types of firearms. As a former peace officer and firearms and tactics coordinator, I see no real need for these except in the hands of our military or our police. On the other hand, I support the right to possess them, as set forth in the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Though it truly grieves me to say this, there is no way to craft a law that will prevent another Columbine, Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook. But there are laws that could be crafted to hopefully reduce the chances of such horrific happenings, and they would be aimed at people rather than firearms.

In New York as well as probably all the other 49 states, every perpetrator involved a violent crime shares responsibility for the acts of the shooter. If the shooter takes a life, all involved can be charged with murder or a lesser offense of manslaughter.

Legislators should take this philosophy a step further. Anyone using a firearm in the commission of a crime should receive a mandatory 10 years in jail with no exceptions and no plea bargaining. Anyone possessing a firearm without required authorization or a permit should receive a mandatory minimum of one and a maximum of five years in jail.

I have one last thought to all you misguided folks out there who think banning these types of firearms or magazines will make a difference. They won’t make one iota of difference, because bad people with guns just don’t give a damn.

Paul Hartmann

Little Falls