Letter: Gun rights activist addresses middle-schoolers | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Gun rights activist addresses middle-schoolers

I am writing in response to the Jan. 18 letter to the editor, written by Basalt Middle School students Nat, Steven, Oscar and Teagan, titled “Students for gun control.”

In a time when so many adults are willing to let others do their thinking and speaking for them, it was refreshing to see young people giving voice to their concerns and fears. I’m hoping I can provide some information with this response that will alleviate some of those concerns (even if they may introduce new ones).

Despite what you have read in “Kokopelli’s Flute,” violent crime of all types — and especially due to misuse of guns — is at its lowest point in more than 40 years. The horror that strikes parents like me when we hear of school shootings makes the threat seem far bigger, but it really isn’t the case.

And the “every 17 minutes” number includes criminals killing one another, police killing attackers and people protecting themselves and their families against violent criminals. It’s like describing people who were arrested by police and put in jail as being kidnapped — not exactly an accurate or honest statement. Worse still, even politicians have admitted that the gun controls they have proposed would not have had any effect on preventing the crimes at the schools you mentioned.

You need to be careful when you ask adults in government to make laws because those laws take choices away from good people and can make them criminals simply for doing things they’ve always done without any harm. There are many instances of kids your age being able to protect themselves and their families because they had access to guns. However, many children also have been hurt and even killed by bad people because laws — designed to “protect them” — made their parents keep family guns unusable and unreachable.

Something else to consider is the fact that many people shot to death die in big cities that already have the gun control that you’ve asked Congress to pass. Despite how the idea of gun control is portrayed, it simply doesn’t solve the problem you described.

We are actually safer each year, but politicians seek more control over our choices each year, not only about guns. And once permission to make your decisions for you is given away freely, it is hardly ever something you can get back.

I hope this gives you more to think about and that you continue to ask questions, learn and speak up for yourselves.

Keith Coniglio

Secretary of the board, Colorado Second Amendment Association, Niwot