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Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Wrong to let NRA dictate gun policy

The last Democrats I voted for, for president, were Kennedy and Johnson. That is until this last November when I voted for Obama. I am a fiscal conservative, but the Republican Party has been taken over by the extreme right Christian coalition and is no longer a party I can support.
On social issues they are totally out of touch. Their idea of religious freedom is to have the right to impose their archaic beliefs on everyone else. Comments by some Republican candidates on women's rights, rape, etc., clearly show just how insensitive and out of touch they are.
Now the latest ridiculous position is advocated by former GOP Rep. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. He has been hired by the NRA to promote their recommendations as a result of the school shootings. When interviewed on CNN, he failed to answer a single question, even though they were very clear and specific. He reiterated the NRA view that we should have armed guards at every school. That's just what we need, to turn our schools into armed camps with our children and grandchildren in the crossfire!
I am a former hunter and still have guns, but long ago dropped my membership in the NRA because of their extreme views. Assault weapons are no good for hunting and are made for the purpose of killing human beings, period! Everyone should have the right to own firearms for hunting, self-defense, target shooting, etc. However, only licensed gun collectors should be able to own assault weapons and they need to pass an extensive background check. Hutchinson voted to shorten the waiting time for background checks to 24 hours. I don't care how long it takes, no one should get any gun permit or license until a very thorough background check is complete. No one at any gun shop or gun show should be allowed to sell to anyone without a valid permit or license.
Our judicial system needs to toughen up a lot. Prison terms need to be mandatory for crimes committed with a gun. No more first-time slap on the wrist, no more reduced sentences, and fewer plea bargain deals. Criminals need to be held accountable and it is way past time our courts make sure they are.
My final pipe dream is that politicians need to represent the people and not lobbyists like the NRA and special interests.
John F. Kunz
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