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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Letters To The Editor


I-676 reasonable, accommodating

As a combat veteran and former handgun owner, I support Initiative 676 as a very modest step for public health and safety.

It’s hard for me to fathom the fear that is apparently widespread in the Spokane area that this initiative is a threat to anyone who owns a gun. Gun owners in particular should be glad to have this kind of accommodating regulation to avoid the taint of those whose habits and attitudes keep them from earning our unlimited trust.

Read the initiative and see if you think it seeks to take your guns away. Then, imagine a proposal drawn in the heat of a tragic incident, with punitive measures instead of preventive ones.

Voting on this safety-first initiative won’t determine how the Second Amendment will be interpreted, but it may tell us whether we have reasonable regulations or drastic control ahead. L. Rusty Nelson Spokane

I-676 repressive, useless

I disagree completely with Walter Becker (“How about private gun sale ban?” Letters, Aug. 13) and other I-676 supporters who say Initiative 676 will reduce the carnage caused by guns.

Statistics used by initiative supporters include people up to the age of 21. Obviously, these are not all children. I called and asked them myself. Why do they lie? I think it’s because this is a useless piece of feel-good legislation.

Numerous state and federal laws add years to the sentences of criminals who use guns. There are laws to report multiple gun purchases and laws to stop the purchase of guns outside your home state. It’s illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to posses a handgun.

Currently, the federal government poorly enforces its firearms laws. Under the Brady law, only six people have been charged with trying to illegally obtain a firearm in the last three years. Why aren’t these laws being enforced?

Why should I pay a fee to exercise my constitutional right to bear arms? Why does my name have to be in an online database of gun owners? Why should I be forced to completely re-take a safety class every four years? This is repressive and totally unnecessary. In the last 20 years, the number of firearms accidents in the home has dropped dramatically while the number of gun owners has risen. Even the government’s statistics show that 99.9 percent of guns are never used illegally.

Use the current laws to attack criminals and leave me alone. Eric P. Schaffer Spokane

I-676 requirements mean control

My Father always told me to read the fine print before signing something. I found Initiative 676 contains 13 pages of requirements and figured it was time to read the fine print.

Did you know I-676 requires the Washington Department of Licensing or its assigned agents to “establish rules and procedures as necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this act?” There appears to be no restriction on what kind of rules and procedures.

Did you know that all handgun owners would have to have their handgun safety license before Jan. 1, 1999? That’s only three months after the department must define the rules. An estimated 1 million Washington handgun owners will need this license, which requires a minimum of eight hours of training. Who will be able to do this in six months? And at what cost?

Did you know that anyone who hasn’t gotten training and received their license by Jan. 1, 1999, will be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to having his handguns confiscated if he doesn’t get the training and license within 60 days?

Before you vote, understand what 1-676 is about. I’ve never met anyone who was against gun safety and protecting children, but 1-676 is not about saving children, it’s about gun control. G.K. Wilder Colbert


Armed folks engender peace, politeness

Are you interested in saving 1,570 lives annually? How about preventing 4,177 rapes per year? Would obviating 60,000 aggravated assaults per year be of interest to you? Is the prevention of thousands and thousands of home burglaries important?

The January 1977 issue of The Journal of Legal Studies carried an article written by John Lott and David Mustard in which they have determined that if every state in the Nation were to adopt right-to-carry gun laws, the above statistics would be a reality, not an elusive dream.

Basically, Americans are peace- and freedom-loving people, but the right to carry guns and defend ourselves would allow us to be a more polite and safer society simply because there would be an equality of power or force between the normal citizen and the criminal.

Guns do not kill people, but an unequal force promotes all kinds of crime, including murder, rape, burglaries, et al. Earl G. Fox Spokane

Get tougher with juvenile lawbreakers

I witnessed the chase and arrest of the four Spokane youths involved in the theft of four cars (Spokesman-Review Aug. 23). These young men drove west on I-90 with no regard for human life; they cut several people off, causing some to swerve onto the shoulder of the road.

I stopped and offered to help the lone state patrolman while these young men laughed like they’d done nothing wrong. The officer had them at gunpoint, ordering them to keep their hands up, which they refused to do. One of the passengers bent over to retrieve something from the floor of the car. It turned out to be a hat, but it could have been a gun. He could have been shot by the officer.

According to the newspaper, they were charged with first degree possession of stolen property. What about reckless driving, reckless endangerment, attempting to elude capture, failure to yield right of way, unlawful lane changes and running a stop sign?

Unfortunately, these four young men probably won’t end up spending any time in custody, mainly because we have gone soft on juvenile crime.

It’s time to build that new juvenile justice center, with enough space to house offenders from other counties as well, to help share the expense, and start handing out stiff penalties for violation of the laws. We have let the youths of this area run amok too long.

Let’s get involved as a community and pass the needed bond to build a new facility to house the juvenile offenders of today so maybe they won’t become career criminals. Mark A. Yates Newman Lake

Appreciation SpokAnimal help offered during fire

I commend SpokAnimal CARE and its director, Gail Mackie, for yet another job well done. We own a boarding establishment for horses just up the road from the recent fires along the Cheney-Marshall road. Mackie contacted us, as well as many other nearby horse and animal owners, to make sure we were aware of the fire and had means to evacuate the horses, should the need arise.

SpokAnimal apparently had prearranged locations for horses to be evacuated to (just like during the Newkirk fire, when more than 50 horses had to be moved rapidly) and volunteers with trucks and trailers ready. While our barns are designed with a large defensible space, it was still great to know there were options.

We will now work with SpokAnimal to help provide for others, just as help was offered to us. SpokAnimal really does provide a unique, caring service for animals and their owners. Christel A. Carlson Spokane Sport Horse Farm

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