In response to Heidi Dragneff’s July 13 column, “As a veteran and mother I support gun control,” I support and respect the author’s claim that she and her husband are teaching their kids to shoot and to do so safely. Bravo Zulu!
I also have taught my wife and daughter (and a son many years ago) how to manage weapons safely, including pistols, revolvers and several long guns to include my AR and SKS. They have also participated in a defensive handgun shooting course conducted by an NRA-qualified instructor. Furthermore, I too am a Navy corpsman, a “Devil Doc” to some, having spent 30 years in service including such sunny, fun places as Vietnam, Beirut and others during numerous deployments.
However, I fail to understand why an unconstitutional New York State law being overturned causes her to fear guns and their availability. The writer demonizes the AR-15 based on her limited experience during a couple of years in the Navy as a corpsman and having never served outside the United States down range. I also believe that law-abiding 18-year-olds should be afforded the right to own long guns, as many live in rural communities and have grown up hunting and fishing.
As a former New York State resident I can honestly state that the gun control laws in New York are extremely restrictive of residents’ Second Amendment rights. The law is even more restrictive for residents of New York City. The AR rifle cannot be legally owned in New York State, even though many were made by Remington Arms in Ilion, New York, and .50 caliber weapons of any design are banned.
The AR — or the AK, for that matter — available to the average law-abiding citizen in many states is not a weapon of war. They are semi-automatic (meaning each shot requires pulling the trigger) sporting weapons for target practice, competition and hunting game deer size and smaller. They are great for hunting feral hogs, from what I’ve been told, and, if need be, for self-defense. I and many of my peers have owned ARs for years and I can guarantee that none of my weapons have ever hurt anyone.
I agree with the author’s description of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and other combat-related ailments. How these terrible events, such as in Uvalde, Texas, will affect grocery shoppers, church goers and school children who have to deal with the trauma, is yet to be determined. Counselors and other trauma support personnel are readily available to assist these victims as needed; most are young and will be able to find a place in their mind to bury the events and most likely will suffer no long-term effects.
Looking back in recent history to the mass shootings in Uvalde and other locations, these atrocities were perpetrated by mentally ill young men and recently, in Dallas, a woman.
I would suggest that what we are experiencing is the result of many things: broken homes leaving children raised by single parents, usually the mother or grandmothers; the absence of prayer in homes and schools (a daily non-denominational prayer and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance were common practice until the mid 1960s); poverty, much of which has been created by the federal government; a loss of respect for authority by the young, even for parents and senior citizens; and loss of self respect/esteem.
I believe the Second Amendment is a guaranteed right of all law-abiding U.S. citizens that shall not be abridged. Commit and be convicted of a felony, you lose that right. If people do not wish to own or be around firearms, that is certainly their prerogative, but don’t attempt to limit my right.
Donald Coons is a U.S. Navy veteran and a resident of Virginia Beach.