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Los Angeles Times

Response of gun rights absolutists woefully inadequate

It was very proper to provide another viewpoint in your article about Gov. Martin O'Malley announcing that there would be a bill addressing the issue of gun control ("Gun control package pending," Dec. 19). However, I found the "perspective" offered by Del. Michael Smigiel to be an example of intellectual dishonesty and lazy thinking.

Mr. Smigiel presented the same old "the problem is," response and I quote, "It is not to attack the firearm; it is to attack the problem, which is people who have a mental health issue." This issue is complex and multi-faceted and requires more than one solution. For Mr. Smigiel to offer this one way to "attack the problem" either means that he is a mental midget incapable of grasping complex problems or he knows that it is more complex than he pretends, and he is merely offering a bone to his constituents and to the National Rifle Association.

And speaking of the NRA, is it any wonder that they are so adamantly opposed to any form of gun control? Have you ever seen their building in Fairfax, Va.? What an impressive building, but I wonder what it costs to maintain it. No wonder they need to constantly keep their membership alert to any "threats" to their Second Amendment rights. It keeps the money flowing, the lights on and the heating bill paid. Not to mention the salaries paid to top executives and their lobbyists.

It has been my observation that people who defend their "Second Amendment rights" and people who support a "Flag Burning Amendment" are the same constituency. I searched for "flag burnings" on Google and did not find much, but Professor Robert Justin Goldstein documented approximately 45 reported incidents of flag burning in the over 200 years between 1777 when the flag was adopted and 1989. I have no way of proving this one way or the other, but I ask, what constitutes a epidemic? Does 45 or 50 flag burnings justify a Constitutional amendment being proposed? How about 77? That is the number of reported killings in just four high-profile cases — Virginia Tech, Columbine, Phoenix and now Newtown.

What do you think we would be hearing from the "protect the flag" people if there had been 77 flag burnings in just the past five years? Instead, we get tired, lazy responses from people like Delegate Smigiel.

Charles F. Ernst, Linthicum

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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