The National Rifle Association and the bought-and-paid-for politicians are speaking in favor of a bump fire stock ban as a distraction and ploy to say that they “did something” in response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

We must not fall for the distraction.

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What we need is a ban on assault weapons and semi-automatic firing rifles with detachable magazines. We need to “title guns like cars” to stop the easy access of guns in this country, and we need to hold people responsible who are buying and selling guns (publically or privately).

The NRA and politicians, whose campaign funds are financed through the NRA, fight every attempt to work for responsible legislation because it’s a business decision. If we stop the easy access to guns, the lower gun flow will mean fewer guns sold and therefore less money made by gun manufacturers and less money paid to the gun lobbyists.

We must also fight the lies that the NRA puts out with facts and truth: Owning a gun does not make you safer.
Armed people rarely are successful in stopping an active shooter.

America must stop its love affair with guns. Let us not miss another opportunity to face our gun crisis and violence epidemic, and let us not fall for the distraction of a “cheap” ban rather than substantive legislation.

Rev. Michael L. Pfleger,
senior pastor, St. Sabina’s

Vacuous column

Jacob Sullum’s vacuous Viewpoint article on Oct. 6 left me speechless. His conclusion seems to be that although we in the United States have endured a long and horrible series of mass shootings, there is nothing to be done about it and any suggestion that we should examine the problem and take action to reduce the likelihood of more mass shooting is a terrible idea because a.) we don’t know what actions would be recommended or b.) many of the actions that have already been discussed wouldn’t have stopped the Las Vegas shooter.

In other words, Sullum’s brilliant idea is that we are powerless to reduce the chances of mass shootings, and we are fools to think we can. That is an odd conclusion given that mass shootings are much less common in most of the rest of the world, and most of the rest of the world takes a different approach to allowing citizens access to firearms. Could we not learn something from other nations? Can we not come up with creative solutions of our own that fit comport with our 2nd Amendment? The final words in his article crystalize its entire purpose. They are “an excellent excuse for inaction.” The truth is, there is no excuse for inaction, despite Sullum’s sophistry.

Jim Nathan, North Center

Service cuts

Now that Big Soda, anti-tax Sun-Times editorials, and opportunistic politicians have demonized Toni Preckwinkle’s pop tax, since there’s no obvious fat to cut in county’s budget, if the tax is killed, the consequence can only be cuts in services that weren’t lavish in the first place.

Nobody has identified wasteful county spending in the operating statement Preckwinkle made public. Without a substitute tax to stay even with costs, e.g., maintaining Stroger Hospital (which eats more than 80 cents of every dollar), and other vital services (think County Jail for one), expect outcries of bad governance when health services are cut and people suffer in the very wards said to complain loudest about the pop tax, and when Sheriff Tom Dart starts complaining of inadequate resources to run the jail safely.

If the pop tax dies, anti-pop tax politicians had better name a more popular tax item to replace it, because the complaints to come from service cuts seem destined to be far worse.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Intent to kill

I do not understand the dialogue ensuing the Las Vegas massacre regarding bump stocks. It seems to me that the purpose of a bump stock is to make a weapon capable of killing a large number of targets in a short period of time. (I doubt that we are speaking of rats or squirrels). In other words we are making a weapon of “mass destruction.”

As a right-leaning moderate, I acknowledge that there are often two or more sides to most issues. As a human being and a United States citizen, I believe that each of us is entitled to “LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Since the bump stock’s only purpose is to deprive the maximum number of people of their lives in a short period of time, it should be a non-issue and banned immediately with no discussion. In addition, any propagation of bump stocks should be treated as a criminal offense.

I have no problem with individuals having weapons for self-protection or sport. However, I view owning automatic weapons as an intent to kill. What else could it be?

Ted Staniec, Roselle