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News of Otsego County

2nd Amendment Sanctuary

FRANCE: Misinformation Can Lead To Unreasonable Worries
LETTER from ROGER LAFRANCE

Misinformation Can Lead

To Unreasonable Worries

To the Editor:

In a recent edition of this newspaper, Mr. Brockway offered an explanation of his support for a resolution to make Otsego County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”

He prefaced his argument with his opinion that, contrary to an accusation in a prior letter, he is not a fearmonger. However, much of the information he cites to support his case is distorted or factually incorrect – the type of misinformation that promotes unreasonable fear.

I am a lifelong resident of the county (in fact I live just down the road from Mr. Brockway), and have been hunting in the Oneonta area for over 50 years. My career involved helping small communities and businesses in Otsego and Delaware counties, which I believe gives me a credible understanding of their residents.

I have not heard any proposal from any presidential candidate that leads me to fear any of them would move to take away my firearms if elected.

While it is true that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Heller vs. District of Columbia that the Second Amendment provides for an individual to possess arms outside of membership in a state militia, for traditional lawful purposes, including self–defense,  within the home, the ruling also confirmed such right is not unlimited and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated.

Nevertheless, I don’t find in Governor Cuomo’s recent official proposals for 2020 reference to all of the gun-related regulations Mr. Brockway claims he has proposed.  I’d be curious about the source of these claims.

Mr. Brockway states that Australia passed a law forcing all its citizens to give up their guns, and that the crime rate then went up 400 percent in less than a year.  The first statement is an exaggeration, the second is patently false.

Australia did pass very strict gun-control laws in 1998 following a horrific mass shooting.  These banned most semi-automatic weapons, and the government bought more than 600,000 of them from citizens during a year-long buy-back program.

While this resulted in a significant drop initially in the number of guns owned by civilians in the country, since then the number has gradually increased and the number of guns currently owned legally by Australian citizens is about the same as prior to the 1998 laws.

Violent crime most certainly did not increase 400 percent following these laws; a simple Google search will show that this viral “fact” was debunked years ago but continues to be circulated.  In fact, the rate of homicides in Australia continues to drop in a trend that started prior to the 1998 gun-control laws.

Like Mr. Brockway, I don’t want Otsego County to become a gun-free zone, but Australia’s experience demonstrates that even rigid gun-control laws won’t result in such a radical situation.

The primary purpose of the laws was to reduce mass shootings.  In the decade prior to them, Australia suffered mass shootings at the rate of more than one per year; in the 20-plus years since, only three such incidents, two of which were acts of domestic violence. The United States suffered 31 mass murder incidents in 2019 alone, and a total of 418 mass shooting incidents.

The contention that the highest numbers of gun crimes are committed in cities with the toughest gun laws is also not accurate. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Statistics, the highest murder rate (including any method, although it could be assumed the number of gun murders is proportional) of any U.S. city during 2018 was St. Louis (60.9 per 100,000 population).

New York City’s rate was a very low 3.5.  Houston’s was 11.8 and Dallas 11.4, these being cities in a state known for its liberal gun-possession rules.

Statewide statistics for 2018 showed Alaska to have the highest violent-crime rate in the country (995 per 100,000).  New York’s rate was 350.5, ranking it right in the center of the list of states.  Clearly, there are many factors other than gun-control laws that affect crime rates.

But as Mark Twain once said, “facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable,” so one can usually find statistics to back any side of an argument.  Unfortunately, debate over issues in recent years has been dominated by extremists and alarmists on both sides of most issues who routinely promote distorted and downright false information.

The rushed middle-of-the-night process used to enact the Safe Act was not government at its best. But in a civilized society, when citizens don’t like a particular law, the appropriate response is to work through democratic institutions to have the law changed.

A deliberate choice to ignore and urge others to ignore selective laws contributes to a lack of respect for general law and order, and is more of a threat to the community than any single law.  Surely there is a rational middle ground for regulations that could reduce gun violence without unnecessarily restricting legitimate, responsible gun ownership and use.

Polls continually show the majority of Americans desire some degree of regulation to reduce the opportunity for violence-prone individuals to possess guns, and to limit possession of assault weapons to the military and law enforcement agencies.

I’ll continue to enjoy the English skills demonstrated by Mr. Brockway’s outdoor columns, but I find his history lesson lacking.  Otsego County has no need to declare itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary”, and should not.

ROGER FRANCE

West Oneonta

LEGG: Gun-Control Advocates Equal Hitler – Really?
LETTER from HAL LEGG

Gun-Control Advocates

Equal Hitler – Really?

To the Editor:

This news organization recently published a letter in which Otsego County Rep. Rick Brockway, R-Laurens, presented his opinion – certainly worthy of your readers’ consideration – about the general availability of firearms. In contrasting his perspective with that held by Democrats running for president, Representative Brockway wrote: “Adolf Hitler said, ‘To conquer a nation, you first must disarm its people.’”

History rules out the acceptability of lightly characterizing others as der Führer. Casually invoking him as a rhetorical device designed to negate an opposing viewpoint trivializes the suffering of the millions whom Nazis imprisoned, enslaved and murdered.
It also diminishes the shared sacrifices that thousands of Americans and others of several nationalities and political beliefs, at home and abroad, in an out of uniform, selflessly made to end the Third Reich, liberate a continent and, in doing so, become the Greatest Generation.

Hitler brutally perpetrated the most vile atrocity of the last century. Contemporary Democrat presidential candidates, on the other hand,
suggest that the abundance of guns in our country is having ill effects. These two are not equivalent.
Attempting to draw similarities between them is grotesque.

HAL LEGG
Oneonta

ANDERSON: Much In Country Today Requires Self-Protection
LETTER from DOUGLAS ANDERSON

Much In Country Today

Requires Self-Protection

To the Editor:

By happenstance I picked up the Feb. 6 copy of Hometown Oneonta. In it, I found letters to the editor about a topic I am profoundly concerned about: my freedom, as protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Clearly these letter writers have somehow missed a few very important points about life in these United States. And by that I think they may have slept through their civics and constitutional classes while still in school.

The Constitution was written – and continues to be – the LIMITING Document, which defines the line that those working for US in government may not cross. The line is likewise defined by our Bill of Rights. There are many in government who choose to irresponsibly ignore those lines and have used all means possible to make “the people” forget all about them.

They and their operatives have managed to infiltrate our nation’s schools – increasingly so, for the last 100 or more years, incrementally erasing, in steps, the teaching of civics and accurate history. A child who is not educated as to their rights knows not what they are. Karl Marx knew that, and so did so many tyrants of the 20th century.

There have been over 20,000 “gun laws” written by this government in the last 100 years or more, and not a one has made you one bit safer, or stopped, violent crime. In fact, most of them are not enforced or serve the proper prescribed punishments upon the law-Breakers.

Instead, to gather votes to further their own careers, politicians grandstand by “fighting crime” by imposing new “laws” on the law-abiding. Criminals on the other hand, by their very job description, IGNORE laws, and indeed sometimes use the law’s existence to their advantage. This “job description” very much includes POLITICIANS. Because these politicians took an OATH and accepted the responsibility to defend the Constitution and our citizens, and then FAILED to do their job, Americans are plagued with

• Unvetted aliens entering our country – by the millions. Many of whom who have already proved our “leaders” wrong, by murdering American citizens

• Rampant Voter FRAUD – deliberately foisted upon the trusting populace by greedy power-hungry and seditious socialists, whose sole aim is to destroy this Republic.

• Shuttered state mental hospitals – asylums for the insane – thus turning out the mentally insane into our society.

•And on Jan. 1 of this year in New York, the governor managed to open the incarceration floodgates to allow 60 percent or more of NY’s criminals to “get out of jail free” – RIGHT OUT INTO OUR SOCIETY.

Politicians like this have made a mockery of our founding fathers and the thousands of brave Americans who gave their lives for American’s freedom.

IN ADDITION, they themselves created the environment where now more than ever, citizens NEED to be armed for protection against those they themselves turned loose within our society. Give up our guns? I think not, thank you.

DOUGLAS ANDERSON

Bainbridge

MOSS: Sandy Hook Memories Still Resonate
LETTER from SUSAN MOSS

Sandy Hook Memories Still Resonate

To the Editor:

I remember the moment when I first heard about the shooting of first graders in Newtown, Conn. I was driving home from work, on a back road between Cooperstown and Oneonta. My immediate and natural response was to pull over, get out of my car and scream “My God, 6-year-olds! What is happening in this country?” The outrage and pain of it was overwhelming. I can’t even imagine what the families of those children went through.

This is the memory I have in response to Rick Brockway’s idea about Otsego County becoming a “sanctuary” for gun owners. I am a gun owner, and I don’t need a sanctuary. I also don’t need an assault weapon.

I am not worried about “them” (whoever that is) coming to take away my guns. First it was President Obama, then Hillary Clinton, now…who? It hasn’t materialized and just floats around as a paranoid ideation in a cloud of misinformation and fear. If someone is “coming to take my guns,” I hope they call first so I can put on the coffee.

My other response, when I read Brockway’s quote from none other than Adolph Hitler : “To conquer a nation first disarm its citizens,” is to wonder if Hitler knew that there are other ways to “disarm” people which go far beyond taking away their firearms.

You disarm people when you make them afraid; you disarm people when you violate the necessary social contracts which work well (like driving on the right side of the road) and
protect them; you disarm people when you withhold information that they need to carry on.

Most of all, you disarm people when you lie incessantly and make it impossible for them to
know what’s true or false, what’s real or fantasy, what’s right or wrong. Seems we are already disarmed, to me.

SUSAN MOSS
Oneonta

WILCOX: Gunmen More Scary Than G-Men
LETTER from KEITH WILCOX

Gunmen More Scary Than G-Men

To the Editor:

Rick Brockway states “every Democratic candidate…will take our guns away.”

If he means the candidates advocate the confiscation of all guns owned by law-abiding citizens, he’s wrong. None of them takes that position. They are for stricter gun control, as well they ought to be.
The guns, Mr. Brockway, I and other Upstate folks had growing up were nothing like what we’re faced with today. We’ve had, and will have, shootings in churches, schools, movies, concerts and other venues.

The weapon of choice is often one that can deliver many bullets very rapidly, a weapon designed for our Armed Forces.

The Second Amendment refers to arms, not guns. Most arms available to our Armed Forces have been deemed inappropriate for private citizens. Should we add guns with high-capacity magazines to the “inappropriate” list? It’s worth discussing.

Mr. Brockway hopes he never has to confront government agents coming to take his guns. I sit by the door of my church hoping one of my fellow citizens doesn’t show up with murderous intent. Thankfully the statistics are overwhelmingly with both of us, but more so with Mr. Brockway.

KEITH WILCOX
Roseboom

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