Letters to the Editor: May 20, 2003
Letter from an Australian Gun Owner
My name is [deleted], I am 16 years old and currently attending year 10 at Haileybury College in Melbourne Australia. I have just finished reading your open letter and have found it very interesting, especially in terms of the different stances undertaken by the two opposing sides in our different countries. However, I believe that our society's are very similar in nature, although my Governments stance is extremely harsh in comparison to yours. I am not sure if you know much about the gun laws we have here in Australia but they are very restrictive in terms of what guns you are able to own, how many you are able to own, how long you must wait before purchasing a firearm and where they must be stored if they are kept at home.
For example, we have 5 classifications of guns A, B, C, D, E. A consists of paintball guns, basic rimfire rifles or shotguns, B consists of combination rimfire/shotgun/centrefire etc. And C is made up of things such as Semi automatic rifles with magazine capacity of no more than 10 rounds etc. I currently hold a category A & B license which is the highest category allowed to be held by a minor in my country. Each step up in license and the type of firearm is slightly different and less restrictive e.g. E category are machine guns, tear gas gun projectors etc. The only license allowed to be held by normal everyday Australians is A, B or C. The only reason you are allowed to hold a higher license is if your occupation requires the use of something higher like if you were in the army.
The guns and firearms allowed in your country that are held by everyday Americans would have been bought back by the government in 1996 if they were in Australia. During 1996, a deranged man massacred about 20 people in one killing spree. It was this that prompted the governments tighter laws within Australia, but if this man were stopped after killing only 1 or 2 people by a person who was carrying a gun, do you think the government would have a different stance on firearms today?
I go to a school which is located reasonably close to the city, thus not many students have had the opportunity to fire a weapon let alone get a license from the government. Only my close friends know that I have a gun license and they are not frightened by this. However I have noticed a very high correlation between anti gun advocates and the number of people who have not had high exposure to firearms. That is to say that people who have never fired a weapon or even held one are very much more likely to be against them in our community and country. People who have found out that I hold are license are somewhat shocked and cautious of me at first but then they realize that I am just a normal person like everyone else who is not the stereotypical yahoo redneck who likes to shoot traffic signs for fun.
Another funny thing, is that in my densely populated suburb is a very small 20 metre rifle range that almost nobody knows about. It has been around since the area around my house was colonized. I have lived in this area all my life and I only realized it was there after I was looking at a street map and stumbled across the words "rifle range". I joined up with it not long after I found this range. One night a man walked into our 5 metre by 6 metre "clubhouse" which is connected to the range and saw all these people cleaning, repairing or inspecting their .22 rifles. At first he didn't know what to think and was most likely frozen with fear, but he soon settled down and we all had lengthy talks with him not about guns but just life in general. We gave him a tour, if you could call it that, of our range and he was most impressed with it and its safety. He left without a doubt in his mind that we were logical, smart, safe, sane and friendly people of the community that were as much a part of it as he was.
I have just been given an assignment, which involves giving an oral report to my English class on whether gun restrictions in our country are harsh enough or if they need even more tightening. I am obviously in favour of no more restrictions being put in place because it just makes it far too hard to use or even enjoy target shooting especially where I live. I also believe in the right for people to own guns for self defense, for recreational and agricultural purposes. The restrictions are far too tight as it is, and it is very clear after talking to them that my classmates are illinformed of the actual situation and I wish to give them the gun owner/users side of the story which contains facts rather than myths. It is hard enough sorting through the piles of information that I have to find correct data and information let alone unbiased reports/data/documents.
I would be more than grateful if you could send me any information or sources that you used in writing your letter.
Also, what do you think of the situation here in Australia that is if you know anything about it at all. I am very interested to hear you thoughts and opinions on what I have just said...
Doug Bruce isn't the only one who is mad. I'm mad, too. Public meetings, where the public's business is conducted, must be open to the public, _no questions asked_! I do not have, do not want, should not have to produce, and would not produce if I _did_ have, "photo eye-dee." Nevertheless, I demand admittance to city council meetings. Period. No exceptions. No papers. Ever.
Patrick L. Lilly
Follow-Up on Santorum
Thanks for the posting and your commentaries.
As to your comment and request:
"I am willing to (legally) tolerate Mark's views of homosexuality, and I trust he will return the favor."
I will go you one better, with one clarification and caveat --
Certainly I will return the favor -- again, not simply because of our mutual respect for free speech, but again because there is no federal power given anywhere to regulate, define, or even comment on "marriage" (ie., it's not simply the prohibition of the First Amendment; there is NO power so given in Article I either.) In other words, most of this furor, like the majority of such 'problems', is created by an out-of-control central government attempting to usurp power it is not given and muck around in areas it is not allowed to, under authority it has never been granted.
However, I don't have a 'view' on homosexuality, or for that matter even much personal interest in the topic. I simply point out some of what the Bible says on the issue (while it is still currently NOT yet "illegal" for me to do so, as it is evidently already in many other regimes) and encourage people to read it for themselves. My only real view therefore, is that what IS written there on the topic is pretty clear; and thus the basis for my regulation of my own speech and conduct.
Mark Call, May 18
Ari Armstrong replies: I'm fine with that. Santorum was arguing the states can regulate sex, though arguably the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits them from doing so. An "out-of-control" state government isn't much improvement.
State Spending Going Up
I'm surprised you would echo that "slash spending" garbage on your website, specifically: "Lawmakers had to slash spending by $892 million for the current year, then find nearly a billion dollars to save in the 2003-04 fiscal year beginning July 1."
They didn't slash spending, they increased it. While the Democrat's cronies got short changed, Republican special interests did very well; and as always, the people who pay the taxes, surcharges, and fees a got fleeced.
This year's budget is bigger than last year's, which was bigger than the year before and so forth. To accomplish this, our legislators stold hundreds of millions of dollars "rainy day money" from the Worker's Comp Fund, Umeployement Insurance, Tobacco Trust, and even the Unclaimed Property Fund. It's called theft by legislation.
Bill Jambura, May 19
Ari Armstrong replies: I was quoting John Sanko of the Rocky. At least spending faced some sort of relative restraint. And I did point out the Republicans passed a corporate welfare package. I thought I had linked to a previous review of the budget situation, but I hadn't. That link has now been added to the original article.