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Game animals, birds, are better protected than school-age children

April 6, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

I have written the following letter to Sen. Marco Rubio, Congressman Francis Rooney, Lee County Republican Chairman Johnathan Martine and Collier County Republican Chairman.

I share this with other Republicans and citizens.

The NRA, through its lobbying and campaign contributions, has supported excessive expansion of gun sales within our country. Today our country is awash with unnecessary guns that have contributed to growing numbers of mass slaughters, especially to our school children. More people are being shot than in the past: murder rates are down only because of medical advances as opposed to NRA claim down because of greater gun sales to individuals. As a long-time hunter and supporter of hunting, and Republican of long standing, I am not happy with your support of the NRA, and the campaign funding you receive from it. I will no longer support members of my Republican party who support the NRA.

I believe we protect hunted game animals and migratory birds better than we currently protect school children and adults in our society. When was the last time we saw a massacre of game animals or birds similar to our school children's murders? Not any time recently because all states and the national government control guns used for hunting, especially for big game animals and migratory birds. Contrast what we do to prevent massacre of game animals and birds to what we don't do to prevent any massacre of school children and adults.

A great number of states provide restrictions on the bullet magazines' capacity for hunting game animals and migratory birds, and the caliber and type of gun that can be used near populated area. In most cases, semi-automatic rifles and shotguns are limited to three bullets or shells. And many states require shotguns to be used for hunting within populated areas. The civilian use of .223 caliber semi-automatic military styles rifle should have similar controls and limitations much like those extended to our game animals and birds so as to reduce and limit the probability of massive killing of American citizens. Citizens are Homo Sapiens, and they should be given at least the same safety and consideration as game animals and birds. Republicans and Democrats alike need to act to provide this safety to citizens.

Enough is enough. We need a safer society and I'm more than willing to give up some of my gun rights, and allow Republicans and non-Republicans to be voted in who wish to reduce gun rights to a reasonable level. We are aware that some Republicans, following the NRA's marketing goals, have worked to allow military style rifles to exist in growing numbers in our society. The military style semi-automatic AR-15/caliber .223 rifle, and other similar models were created to kill and maim individuals with grievous consequences. And they have! These type rifles are easy to use and have little recoil for the shooter. And the gun industry has manufactured "bumpstocks" to make them even more lethal.

The failure of the Republican Party to make illegal the possession and sale of "bumpstocks" (attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire faster, almost like machine guns) demonstrates the weakness in Party leadership, including your own. When the Party and the NRA put military style gun sales and profits ahead of human lives, they become evil; there is no other way to say it. I believe your support of the NRA for campaign donations has corrupted your sensibility like many others in both Parties who pander to the NRA's legislative needs.

Where has your sense of family values evaporated to? Safety and security of our children should be your highest priority. The Second Amendment is not sacred: already it has been overridden by concern for public safety: for example, guns are prohibited from all government buildings -national, state, county, and city - as well as international and domestic airlines, and cruise ships. We need to expand our gun controls further to enhance public safety beyond the Second Amendment interpreted definition. Already the sale of full automatic weapons to the public requires registration of the owners.

There are good reasons to place more restrictions on gun ownership of military style rifles, especially semi-automatic .223 caliber rifles: indeed, their use in mass execution of innocent citizens is the most crucial reason. This rifle has limited recoil and is easy to use. We should limit ownership of these guns to those who know the consequence of its power such as sound-minded veterans, active National Guard, active duty armed force members, and various police groups, but even then there will be public safety risks from rogue individuals within these groups.

As a veteran, I believe Life Membership in the NRA is no longer a thing of honor. I dumped my membership long ago when the NRA supported public use of military style armor-piercing bullets. (More recently, members of the Republican Party in Georgia were supporting the public use of gun silencers by legislation so that potential shootings and slaughter an happen to relative silence. Both cases shows how callous and indifferent to public safety the NRA and some state Republican legislators have become.)

To conclude: I support Florida high school students, who, unlike many Republican politicians tied to the NRA, clearly see the national threat of military-style rifles against the life and liberty of innocent American citizens. Unlike most citizens, these students have experienced the killing power of military-style rifles.

The coming national election cycles will likely ensure that many Republican politicians are voted out for their support of the NRA as well as the current Administration, which also supports the NRA. I therefore encourage you to reconsider your prior positions and pass legislation to ban civilian use of assault weapons, large capacity gun magazines, and "bump stocks.".Your allegiance to public safety and school children's safety should be greater than allegiance to the NRA. Elections are getting near and that should be a concern to each of you.

Charles W. Hampton,

Longtime Republican

Former Director of Finance (1976),

City of Cape Coral



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