To the editor:

People need to be educated and get over their fear and paranoia of guns. Guns aren’t bad. Guns aren’t evil. Take any gun made, lay it on a shelf for an eternity and it will hurt no one. If it is picked up by a law-abiding citizen, proficient in its handling, it will hurt no one and may serve to protect them, their family and possibly even our nation. In light of this, who do we legislate against? The gun or those who use it for criminal purposes.

Unfortunately, we will never completely stop gun violence. Politicians like to talk gun legislation because it sounds good but anyone with common sense knows the only people that would follow that legislation would be law-abiding gun owners who would never use their guns for anything but sport or protection.

We don’t need more gun legislation, and trying to legislate the sale of ammunition is useless. Law-abiding gun owners have already had background checks. Ammunition, like everything else, will go on the black market and only cause more crime if it becomes too hard to get.

We desperately need states to come together and agree on a set of laws that will dictate uniform national sentencing for gun violence, strict rules with no chance of early parole. For example, anyone using a gun in the commission of a crime, one year in prison. If the gun is fired, five years. If anyone is hit, 20 years. If anyone is killed, life without the possibility of parole. These laws won’t stop the crazed killer or hardened criminal, but they will definitely stop a lot of the petty crime and wanton use of guns we suffer with today.

We have to stop criminalizing our lawmen or anyone else who uses force to protect themselves or others. Many of the people with concealed weapons (CCW) permits would be willing to help but they’re advised not to when they get their CCW because of the repercussions they would face. We could even deputize some of them. My dad and uncle were both Stanislaus County sheriff’s deputies and deputy fire marshals.

Nothing is worse than some kid getting shot because they are coming at a cop or anyone else with a deadly weapon. His family says “he was such a good boy.” He may have once been a good boy, but when he was coming at someone with a deadly weapon he was not a good boy and his family, friends and society should be ready to accept the consequences of his actions.

This is a perfect opportunity for haters of America to bus in professional agitators to incite riots. If it is too much for the cops, the National Guard should be called to put them down. People have a constitutional right to openly protest, march or demonstrate but they don’t have a right to injure others, destroy property and loot.

These things go on because we let them. We need to make a strong statement that these things will not be tolerated in America.

Jim Bassett