This Isn't the Wild West 

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Tragic events like schoolchildren being cruelly murdered in the foulest cold blood are becoming commonplace [“Josephine,” Private Eye, Dec. 20, City Weekly].

Here in Utah, we are not immune. A shooting nearly happened at the Grand America hotel in 2010. Thank God for the unflinching nerve of the first responding officer, Uppsen Downes. He was wounded, then returned fire, killing the assailant before he gained access to the bell tower and a commanding view of downtown.

Legally owned responsibly stored assault weapons cannot protect you from this kind of random attack. Neither will they protect you from our own government. If “We the People” should ever conspire to tyrannize ourselves, your little peashooter won’t stop it. To see how that would play out, we need only look to Syria.

The United States is saturated with weapons. Trying to disarm the population by force would be a catastrophe. But every community, including our own, needs programs to voluntarily reduce guns and gun violence.

In the meantime, the danger remains. This is the chief reason concealed-carry permits are justified. But many who have them don’t need them. You should need to demonstrate a plausible need to carry.

Illustrating this point is another event in recent local history, when a man with a concealed-weapon permit shot and killed a neighborhood-watch volunteer over words exchanged with his daughter.

Then there is the current state of assault-rifle code. A ridiculous remnant of our Old West past, this anachronism becomes more burdensome with each tragedy. Today, what Western outpost doesn’t have instant access to 911 dispatch via the local cell-phone tower? Name a few? Me, too. That’s a reasonable place to carry a firearm for protection, away from all the unarmed people.

But not even out there do you or any other civilian deserve the right to carry a killing machine designed for fighting in war. If you want to play with one of those, you should sign up for the Army or another branch of our fine military.

Let us instead put an end to these wars, with the world and within ourselves. I say we take all our country’s machine guns and create a statuary in the city squares of our nation, celebrating our greatest holiday. What would you call that day?

Salt Lake City

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