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Says changing mind set, not new gun laws are needed

“It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.” (Four Jacks and a Jill, 1968) Where are we headed, when and where will this end? Why are we allowing the liberal fanatics of this country to dictate to the rest of us? I am fed up with the “political correctness” which has swept our country. When one cannot smile and say hello to someone else without that person taking offense, something is definitely wrong. Why did we lose sight of respect and common decency? Why did we throw away God and the Golden Rule?

In this day of questionable technological advances the younger generations have lost all sense of personal contact. Overall, it’s a society of texting, Tweeting, and what-have you instead of a good, face-to-face conversation. It’s generations of “immediate” gratification, no patience, unearned praise, and a sense of entitlement. We have become a nation of whiny, spoiled brats who haven’t a clue. Can’t get your way? Feeling picked on? Fired because you consistently failed to show up for work? Too bad ... get a grip and get over it! Learn to cope and take responsibility for your actions.

After the Santa Clarita episode, Ms. Reeves, a former president of the National Association of School Psychologists stated “We’ve got to deal with this on the front end with kids, so they’re not feeling so hopeless and angry and desperate.” (Los Angeles Times, Sandy Banks, Nov. 14, 2019) And that, folks, is the crux of the matter. As a society in general, we have failed many of our citizens, young and not-so-young. We have neither trained nor shown them how to appropriately deal with less than ideal situations. Their answer is to strike out ... by bullying in various forms or by using weapons. The violent computer games in which they participate only add fuel to the fire. We have the so-called “mass” (think the number of war casualties versus the current definition of three or more) shootings by those harboring a grudge. And, add the media’s histrionics ... after all, violent horror stories sell and make money. They also give the “bad guys” ammunition to pull the trigger (no pun intended) to see if they can outdo the last guy and gain their 15 minutes of fame.

So, enter the Democrat-backed Extreme Risk Protection Order ... the so-called “Red Flag” gun law. Supposedly it intends to save lives by taking firearms away from citizens ... someone who just “may” have the intention to shoot and kill. It allows family or household members to contact law enforcement to report the “loved” one ... and, the definition of such member includes a “person with whom the respondent has or had a dating relationship” among several others. One had better hope that relationship ended well, or you may find yourself at the center of unwanted attention. Where will this end? None of us are exempt; all it takes is for one person to hold a grudge because of a perceived wrong.

In general, this is how it would purportedly work: 1. Law enforcement or “family or household member” completes a petition and may or may not request a Temporary Restraining Order.

2. The respondent (YOU) is to be served a copy of the petition and which document is “filed before service or promptly after service.” Provisions are made for publication of a summary of the petition as notice to the respondent (YOU) in certain circumstances.

3. If a Temporary Restraining Order is issued by the Court, the respondent (YOU) is ordered to surrender all firearms in YOUR possession to the sheriff. If YOU request it, the sheriff may arrange for the transfer or sale of the firearms to a firearms dealer. NOTE: “Notice need not be given to the respondent before issuing a Temporary Restraining Order ...”

4. An injunction hearing is to be held within 14 days after the Temporary Restraining Order is issued, but that time limit may be extended by another 14 days. If the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent (YOU) is “substantially likely to injure” YOURSELF or another person if YOU possess a firearm, an injunction may be granted. That injunction is effective for no longer than one year ... and upon its scheduled expiration, may be extended for up to another year.

TAKE NOTE that if YOU wish to have the firearms returned after expiration or vacation of the Temporary Restraining Order or Injunction, it is YOUR responsibility to petition the Court for their return.

ALSO: If a firearm belonging to someone else was surrendered, THAT PERSON must petition the Court for its return, participate in yet another hearing, and prove ownership.

So, while the proposed Wisconsin law contains some hearings and safeguards, it remains too broad and subject to various interpretations and abuse. Bottom line is that you will still have your firearms confiscated initially; have to prove your innocence; and fight to get those firearms returned to you if you were not already forced to sell them.

The Republican legislators who oppose this law have been accused of not caring for the lives of students and others. Republicans care deeply about all life, from conception to death. They also care about preserving the rights granted under our Constitution.

Republican legislators are correct in opposing this law and in wanting to further investigate before blindly jumping on the bandwagon. If these “red flag” laws are not raising red flags in your consciousness, they certainly should be doing so.

Information from the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center indicates of attackers “... most had histories of criminal charges, mental health symptoms, and/or illicit substance use or abuse.” (The Badger Herald, William Keenan, Oct. 15, 2019) We all acknowledge that some people are truly mentally ill and need our help for treatment and other issues. Wisconsin has mental health laws already on the books. Those laws have provisions for a Court to include firearms restrictions in the disposition of a case if the circumstances warrant. Those current laws only have to be implemented and enforced. Another confusing and dictatorial law is duplicitous and certainly not needed.

In an interview regarding the “red flag” campaign, Colorado sheriff Bill Elder and another law enforcement officer made the points that the Constitution must be upheld, and that we must “deal with the person ... and have funding for meaningful mental health treatment.” ( 60 Minutes, Nov. 17, 2019) No matter your political affiliation, the majority of us agree that in-depth background checks need to be made with respect to firearm sales. We should also recognize that those background checks are only as effective as the information which has been entered into the system, if entered at all. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is certainly applicable here.

Again, where will this end? Humans have been killing one another since Biblical times. It’s the mind-set, not necessarily the weapon. If these laws are allowed to stand, first it will be the firearms ... then what ... knives, pills, baseball bats, the rocks in your yard?

Don’t think it cannot happen, because it can and will if the liberals have their way.

You may not agree with me, and that’s okay. You are entitled to exercise your freedom to disagree without fear of retaliation. I am a conservative Babyboomer and was raised by parents who taught me to be respectful, how to compromise, and solve my problems without resorting to violence.

It’s way beyond time that we make strides in addressing the real problem: perspective and the ability to have and employ self-discipline. Change the mind-set and the manner in which one reacts to a particular situation, and positive things should be the result.

We need to roll up our sleeves, work together, and get something accomplished. The bickering and undermining must end if we are to save this nation and one another. — Sharon Virnig, Medford