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Readers reacted to a recent Letter to the Editor by Bill Clemens headlined “NRA’s contributions to mass killings”

• Mr. Clemens, as has been indicated, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines are inanimate objects. Taken alone, these items cannot do anything without a person using them in conjunction with a firearm. Bump stocks and magazines are tools, simply that. It takes an active element of participation by one bent on committing an illegal act to cause such tragedies.
As for restricting their use, I personally don’t want a bump stock, but a high-capacity magazine? Yes, because running and hiding until the police come is not an option for me. I have a disabled family member and a special needs child whom I will defend to the utmost. The last words my father spoke to me before he passed away in 2004 were to look out for my family and I will not let someone who is ill-informed about the technical aspects say what I can and cannot use to carry out the promise I made to my father, my greatest hero. — Jim Mandelblatt

• Mr. Clemens, are you aware that the company that makes “bump stocks” has gone out of business? So how can they possible contribute to the NRA? — Carl Disque

• Bump stocks are an inanimate object. High-capacity magazines are inanimate objects. The NRA is comprised of over 5 million members, out of a country of approximately 330 million citizens. This entire opinion fails to recognize the indisputable fact that these crimes are committed by criminals. The method is secondary to the offense. Should automakers be held responsible when a criminal drives over a crowd? This emotional tirade is not only senseless, but factless and even though this is an editorial, journalistic integrity from the staff of the State News should have, and could have fact checked this letter before printing it. The decision to print it is up to the staff, but indicates a lack of responsibility to the truth. Guns are not the problem. — Kevin Outten

• I am a dues-paying member of the NRA. I find this editorial to be incredibly offensive. — Dave McGuigan

• The NRA receives the vast bulk of its funding from the 5 million dues-paying members, plus fees for gun safety and training classes. Gun manufacturers (or any company) are in fact barred from donating to the NRA’s political action committee.
The AR-15 type “assault weapon” has been available to the public since the 1950s and high-capacity magazines longer than that. Why is there an increase in mass shootings today? It is a cultural shift regarding the value of life. Maybe it is the violent video games, 24/7 news sensationalism, illegal immigration, disposable life abortions, removing God from our society, etc. or a cumulative effect. I don’t know.
A “comprehensive background check” is code for regulating the private sale of firearms. The only way to control private sales (other than the honor system) is to have every gun registered to a specific owner. There have been very few places where gun registration has not proceeded gun confiscation, a known goal of many prominent politicians and spokes persons in this country. — Jim Price

• The biggest problem with this horribly informed thought process is it scoffs at the idea of personal responsibility. Tools need to be picked up and used with intent to take on a task. If someone picks up a gun and commits an atrocity, it is never the gun’s fault. — Jason Rextc

• Dear Mr. Clemens please show us where any NRA members have actually committed any mass shootings or killings. I already know you can’t so don’t bother. The NRA is nothing more than a civil rights group who promotes gun rights, gun safety, and what money the use for lobbying on behalf of their members is ridiculously small.
If you are so concerned about preventing mass shootings then I’ll gladly point you in the right direction as to where you can direct your rage. There are two common forms of mass shootings in this country and they have several things in common. The shooters tend to be loaners, on antidepressants, and liberal progressive Democrats. The high profile news types are almost always white adults or kids from well-to-do neighborhoods, and the low-profile types are almost always young black adults or teens in impoverished Democrat cities where there is strict gun control laws and it almost always happens over drugs or gang related turf.
With that said, NRA members don’t really fit the mold of the typical mass shooter. NRA members typically don’t believe in taking lives unless it’s self defense (such as someone breaking into their house in the middle of the night), they generally have a strong sense of pride for their country, their rights, and the freedoms that most people in this country such as yourself no longer seems to understand. Please redirect your rage to where it needs to be focused on to actually fix the problem. — Shawn Knox

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