To The Reader's Forum:
On Saturday morning, Aug. 31, 2013, The Post-Journal printed a letter in their Reader's Forum about me. The writer, I'll call Gary, condemned me for supporting the "SAFE" act - the new state of New York gun control law and asking state Senator Young to withdraw her support for its repeal. I'll not respond as he did, by calling names and painting a group of people (all of whom I admire greatly, by the way) with the same brush. That kind of argument does nothing to promote a discussion on the merits. He ends the paragraph with the complaint "Why do Democrats hate guns?" Well, Gary, I can't speak for the others, but I do not hate guns. I have owned a rifle, a shotgun and a revolver. In the Army, I carried a 45 caliber pistol among other things. When I was in high school (many years ago) I won a marksmanship medal given by the American Legion for winning a rifle club competition. However, I no longer hunt, see no need to own or carry a gun and, as a matter of fact, feel much safer and more comfortable walking down a public street knowing that most, if not all the other people on that street are not armed with lethal weapons, than I would if we were in the Old Wild West.
Gary complains that the SAFE Act was passed quickly - so the NRA would not have a chance to marshal its forces and corrupt state legislators. Well, Gary, given the lessons of history, that's the only way it could have been done. Connecticut passed similar legislation; Colorado dithered, took longer and is embroiled in a classic "gun rights" battle. The NRA bought the U.S. Congress and prevented passage of something 90 percent of the American people wanted - and, I would think, still wants. Given the easy flow of these weapons across state lines, a uniform national law is, of course, the best remedy. But if the Congress will not meet its responsibilities, the states will have to step up to the plate.
Then he implies that I was criticizing Senator Young. On the contrary, I started my letter by commending her for her attention to public service. It was only on this one issue that I thought her position was greatly in error. She has done many good things - the most recent is the acquisition of extra funds for the public libraries in the district. She has answered my letter and says that there are good parts to the law, but paradoxically, still wants to repeal the whole thing rather than fix its defects. All this is much ado about nothing, because we all know that the law will not be repealed while those who passed it remain in office.
Samuel C. Alessi