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18-year-old children, drug dealers and gang members need not apply

To the Editor:

I would just like to make a few comments on Cara DeGette's story, "Shooter tries to torpedo gun show loopholes law" (News, April 27).

First, Doug Bruce tried 180 times over four years to get the TABOR Amendment onto the statewide ballot, and it was only two sentences long. The Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic (SAFE) Colorado folks had a two-page initiative. But the wheels had already been greased, and the initiative passed through the title board with little problem.

Second, in Ms. DeGette's article, she used the term "private dealer." In this phrase, substitute "citizen" for "dealer" and you would still be correct. Just as private citizens don't have to perform background checks if selling a firearm through the classified ads in the Gazette (or even the Independent, if you accept these ads), or to their next door neighbor, or a co-worker, no background checks should be required if the seller and buyer are private citizens who just meet at a gun show. This is just a ploy of the anti-gun crowd to confuse people into voting to require background checks for private sales. There is no gun-show loophole.

Third, the challenge to the initiative doesn't delay SAFE Colorado from soliciting signatures for their petition. However, if the Colorado Supreme Court finds the petition wording, subject matter, etc., illegal or unconstitutional, any signatures collected up to that point would be declared null and void. If SAFE Colorado is so sure the Supreme Court will vote favorably toward their ballot initiative, just start collecting signatures.

Fourth, Arnie Grossman quoted the phrase, "We lose thirteen children a day [nationally] to gunshot deaths, 365 days a year. Something is wrong." You're right Mr. Grossman, something is wrong -- your math.

There are 13 children killed each day only if you count those up to 19 years of age (and sometimes 24). Isn't an 18-year-old an adult? Only if you include armed drug dealers in our cities including Washington D.C. (the most heavily firearm-regulated city in our country, where a private citizen has not been able to possess a handgun since 1977). Only if you include gang wars and drive-by shootings. Only... only... only... Only if you believe Handgun Control, Inc., who made up with that statistic to confuse people into thinking of innocent six-year-olds in their Michigan school rooms.

Fifth, Mr. Herpin was quoted as sawing, "It's kind of nitpicky, but it's the law." Yep, it is the law; and maybe it is nitpicky. But remember when someone was in the White House was nitpicky over the meaning of the word "is?"

I realize this letter will change no one's mind. The anti-gun-rights people will still be anti-gun-rights, and the pro-gun-rights people will still be pro-gun-rights. But I'm just exercising my First Amendment rights to explain why Mr. Herpin wants to preserve his Second Amendment rights.

-- Jim Gates
Colorado Springs

Editor's note:

Actually, Mr. Bruce's 1992 TABOR amendment was two pages, not sentences, long. Written and passed before Colorado's single-subject law was passed, the text of TABOR is unusually long, containing 1,670 words. By comparison, it is longer than President Abraham Lincoln's speech telling the world that the United States was entering a civil war. The U.S. Constitution only uses 224 words to describe the powers of the President. Nitpicky, but it's a fact.

Just exercising his rights, too

To the Editor:

Well, at least Ms. DeGette didn't say "Shooter tries to shoot down..." ("Shooter tries to torpedo gun show loopholes law," April 27).

When Susan Burch, a lobbyist for the Colorado Education Association, filed 180 appeals, over a 4 1/2 year period, against Doug Bruce's current initiative to cut our taxes, no one in the media came to Doug's defense claiming she was just trying to delay the people getting a tax cut. Yet, when I exercise my rights under the Colorado Constitution and state law to ensure that a measure conforms to the requirements for an initiative, I "lack substance." I guess we'll let the Colorado Supreme Court decide that issue.

Mr. Grossman should read his own words: "It's already illegal [for a criminal to buy a gun]..." If it's already illegal, why do we need more laws that only the law-abiding citizen will obey? Does Mr. Grossman believe that criminals will stop getting guns because we will require a background check on the private transfer of a firearm at gun shows? I don't think so. We are getting a glimpse of SAFE and Grossman's true agenda -- the confiscation of all handguns. There will never be enough laws to satisfy these people until we live in a police state where only the police are armed. I will continue to oppose that concept!

-- Bernie Herpin
Petitioner, William Bernard Herpin Jr. v. Title Board, et. al. (Case No. 00SA147)
Program Director, Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition
Colorado Springs

Cara DeGette responds:

Mr. Herpin left out a crucial portion of Mr. Grossman's quote, which in its entirety reads: "It's already illegal, yes, but the reality is there's a loophole that allows them to get away with it." Perhaps Mr. Herpin should avoid quoting Mr. Grossman out of context lest he be accused of using the same tactic as many other gun proponents who insist on quoting only a portion of the Second Amendment when arguing their position.

License plate sloganeering

To the Editor:

How low can you get? Proposed legislation to create a special Colorado license plate with the words, "RESPECT LIFE," saying this is intended to honor victims of Columbine, is nothing but shameless exploitation of that tragedy to further a separate agenda.

Rep. Don Lee, who sponsored the legislation, refused to change the wording, even though he acknowledged that those words are used by the Roman Catholic Church in its fight against abortion.

Legislators had the good sense to kill the bill. However, these plates could still be produced by proponents using private funds.

Does this mean that any group can promote its cause by ordering its own license plates? If so, abortion-rights supporters could design their own plates reading "Pro-Choice Colorado." Before long, members of the NRA would be squaring off with gun-control advocates on adopting slogans. Other groups would follow suit.

This idea starts us on a very slippery slope. Soon license plates will become a battleground for political slogans. Whether the "Columbine" plates are paid for with private funds or not, vehicle license plates are still official government identifiers, and should not be used for any purpose other than that. Bumper stickers are the place for political statements.

-- George Brazill
Colorado Springs

Defaced signs signal ignorance

To the Editor:

Once again the Atheists of Colorado highway marker signs on I-25 have been defaced. At first I suspected marauding hordes of Buddhists monks or that pesky band of Carmelite nuns. Then I considered what local tribes of epically arrogant, petty, small-minded individuals this might be. And it came to me.

Who else but the Loving, Caring, Do Unto Others, Evangelical Christians!

What other group would feel justified in openly and repeatedly committing a crime against the state, in public, on both sides of a busy freeway?

Naturally, this type of behavior makes me and other non-believers want to just scoot into the arms of Jesus. The fundie churches not only teach and preach this type of religious intolerance to their young people, but encourage it.

Our cleanup program is inspired by civic pride and civil duty. And by the way, why doesn't every church in this city have an adopted mile? Do something worthwhile for a change that really does benefit mankind.

I am sorely tempted to join the ranks of those intelligent men and women who have given up trying to reason with anything as ignorant as a fundamentalist Christian.

-- W. Dean Morgan
Colorado Springs

Big fish eat little fish

To the Editor:

Christian people must be very uncomfortable with the current bumper stickers which show a fish with Greek lettering eating a fish with lettering that says "Darwin."

I feel sure most Christians are not trying to devour those who think differently from themselves.

-- Tobe Easton
Colorado Springs

A modest proposal

To the Editor:

As the voting majority of Colorado Springs seems steadfast in its desire to pay absolutely no taxes for anything (and why should you, I say!), I've formulated a modest proposal that will make swift work of our peskier problems.

As recently noted in the local daily, I-25 has become a decidedly deadly stretch of road. But this isn't all bad. Statistically speaking, the majority of future fatalities will be of high school age. (They just go too fast, don't they?) So at the current death rates -- which will most likely increase -- I-25 should be able to free up about one classroom per year. Imagine your life without those Socialist school funding referendums and you'll soon see how I-25 is a blessing in un-guard-railed disguise.

But my scheme doesn't stop there. Since you yourself drive on I-25, it seems reasonable to do something to make it safer, at least over the long haul. (Mind you, we need to keep that student population in check.) Now the beauty of this plan is that it will cost you, the non-taxpayer, nothing at all in that it utilizes the bodies of the victims themselves.

As bodies are a natural occurring resource of our ever-expanding highway system, common sense says they should be put to good use. Assuming the survived-bys can be swayed to bury their dead in the median itself (is it not their civic duty?), that growing row of sturdy headstones will selflessly serve as a privately funded barrier between you and all that on-coming traffic. (Much of which is probably out-of-staters anyway, and just what are they doing here? Don't they have roads of their own?)

-- George Migash
Colorado Springs

You go, girl!

To the Editor:

I can't tell you how glad I am the Indy exists. I am so sick of slimy politicians and "looters" I could scream. But, with the Indy, we finally have a great watch dog.

Now, if you really want to have some fun, stay close to the Red Rocks annexation plan over here in Manitou. Heck, we can't bail ourselves out of the flood disaster, never mind doubling the size of the town.

Or, how about a story about how Channels 5 & 30 News has a monopoly on the last 5 minutes of CNN Headline News. Why do they get to run re-runs of taped news over the top of real reporting?

The list of fun, scandalous stories must be endless.

-- Chris Miller
Manitou Springs

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