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Dan Marvin's letter to the City Council concerning bump stocks

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An open letter to the Lincoln City Council

Ban Bump Stocks

Last week we had the privilege to listen to a group of speech and debate students at LSW (Lincoln Southwest High School). They were articulate, intelligent and inspiring. When we drove home that night I thought the country was in great hands with future leaders such as these kids. The next day Parkland happened. 17 students and teachers died at the hands of a person intent on killing the most people he could, in the shortest time possible.

For the moment the events in Florida have captured our attention. That is why the time to act is now. Before we settle back into our routine and the echoes of the gunfire in Florida fade into the distance, do something.

The National Firearms Act of 1934 is an amazing piece of legislation. That act effectively controlled the proliferation of machine guns. After the October Las Vegas shooting it was reported that “legally owned fully-automatic weapons have only been used in three crimes since 1934.” Vegas being the third incident.

There are estimates that over 3 million assault weapons exist in the United States. We are fast approaching normalizing mass shootings in the US and efforts to remove assault weapons from circulation are beyond what I would ask of the Lincoln City Council. Isn’t a machine gun, a logical next step, for a disturbed individual, trying to create the maximum amount of carnage? Let’s stop that now before machine gun deaths, just like the death through assault weapons, becomes normalized.

Over the weekend we drove to Omaha. Every business we drove by flew the flag at half-mast. Immediately following Parkland, our elected leaders passed on the now common “thoughts and prayers” comment. We can do more.

When a fire rages and is spreading it is common to create a firebreak by creating a line where the out of control fire cannot cross. Since 1934, only the Las Vegas shooting has used a modified weapon called a “bump stock” in a mass shooting. This loophole needs to be closed before their sale proliferates and we toss our arms in the air saying nothing can be done.

Some might say the City should not take the lead on fire arms issues – that state or federal laws should cover firearms. But the fact remains LMC Chapter 9.36 directly addresses all types of weapons. LMC 9.36 makes it illegal to possess a switch blade. Are we really OK with a law that prohibits a type of knife but is silent on a device that turns a gun into a machine gun? The City of Denver just took action and made bump stocks illegal.

Parkland, Florida requires more action than flags flying at half-staff, or even heartfelt words of “thoughts and prays”. Let’s do more, let’s close the machine gun loophole. Let’s do it now.

Dan Marvin

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