Focus on mental illness, not on firearms

I am writing in rebuttal to Montrose hunter David Ryan’s letter (Journal, Jan. 7.) He wants gun owners to stop funding the National Rifle Association, advocates a ban on the purchase of “assault rifles” and for gun owners to “support reasonable gun control measures” to, in his words, “try to stop terrible things from happening.”

Unfortunately, Ryan failed to define what an “assault rifle” is and what “reasonable” means.

The problem is these terms have different meanings to different people.

If he gets his wish and “assault rifles” are banned, I strongly suspect people like Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., will have their definition of “assault rifle” used in the banning process instead of Ryan’s.

I also suspect there’s a good chance Ryan’s hunting rifles will fall under those two senators’ and others’, definition of an “assault rifle” because to them it’s “reasonable.”

Politicians’ definitions of “reasonable” vary immensely and seldom match our own. Because virtually no one can agree on what “reasonable” means we have acrimonious gridlock in state and federal governments. This disagreement on what “reasonable” means is also the cause of many of the lawsuits clogging our courts.

Millions of “assault rifles, assault shotguns and assault handguns” are already out there and if they were banned, the only people who would turn them in would be sane, law abiding citizens, not the bad guys.

Ryan failed to address mental illness as the main cause in both of the terrible incidents he mentioned. Firearms were the tools used in (not the cause of) those atrocities. I believe addressing the cause would be a better way to reduce the number of these terrible crimes rather than ineffectively trying to define and ban tools.

As for supporting the NRA, I believe if it were not for that organization and similar ones, gun owners would have had to turn in their hunting rifles, and any other firearms they owned, a long time ago.

Rick Corbitt