Letters to the editor Aug. 25

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Firearm restrictions

Helena Rev. DeBree quoted Sen. Steve Daines in a letter printed in the Daily Inter (Aug. 18) Lake: “Many experts believe firearm restriction proposals would be ineffective in preventing violent crimes.”

Indeed! In fact, firearm restrictions will bring even MORE violence. Why? Because criminals will obviously ignore the firearm restrictions while citizens will be forced to surrender their deterrent to crime (an intrinsic protection).

Furthermore, under red flag laws, it is inevitable citizens will die, killed by police in their own homes as police attempt to seize their guns. This already happened to Mr. Gary Willis in Maryland. So imagine the bloodshed (both law enforcers and their red flag victims) as the mass of citizens who covet their God-given right to self-defense rebel against red flag laws and rise against those who are creating and implementing them. And these levels of bloodshed would come nowhere near the historical record of death-by-government when tyrannical despots disarm their people.

Based on research by Dr. John Lott, a gun is used to prevent a crime or save a life over 2 million times per year. Without those firearms protecting the American citizens from would-be villains and murderers (not to mention a tyrannical government), how much MORE blood will run down our streets?

Pray governing officials will halt this madness before it’s too late.

—Julie Baldridge, Kalispell

Red flag laws

Red flag laws are a clear violation of the Second Amendment and create a wealth of problems while disarming law-abiding citizens. Five main issues prevail:

1.The seizure of guns without any form of due process, let alone a hearing.

2. They are based on the testimony of one unrelated person (who need only be someone harboring a grudge).

3. The burden of proof is absurdly low (which gives all kinds of leeway to reason No. 2).

4. They shift the burden of proof to the gun owner, rather than the accuser.

5. Even if the accused manages to clear their name, it will take a lot of time and a great deal of money to restore their firearms to them, rendering them without defense for an indefinite period of time.

Red flag laws would not have stopped any of the mass shootings that have everyone calling for these draconian laws. In many cases, there are stories of relatives and others reporting concerns about the individual, which were all ignored by the authorities. Most of these shootings have occurred in “gun-free zones,” which might as well be labeled, “sitting duck zones,” because first of all, criminals do not obey laws, including gun laws. Second, they are able to target venues where they know the chances that someone can defend themselves with deadly force is pretty much slim to none. Remember, these criminals might be crazy, but they are not stupid.

In the wake of the reporting on these mass shootings, the media almost always fails to report the numerous stories about good people with guns stopping bad people with guns.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, if your life or property are being threatened, you are going to call someone with a gun to save you and pray they get there in time.

—Julie Martin, Lakeside

Clear conflict of interest

The recent appointment of William Perry Pendley as acting director of the Bureau of Land Management should deeply trouble all Montanans who love our public lands. Mr. Perry is an outspoken advocate for selling off all public lands, including places like Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Flathead National Forest, places vital to our heritage, our way of life, and our economy, especially here in Northwest Montana.

Equally troubling is Mr. Pendley’s long-standing defense of oil and gas drilling in the Badger-Two Medicine area south of Glacier Park, an area rich in wildlife as well as sacred to the Blackfeet people. Until last month, Mr. Pendley represented one of the oil company’s suing the federal government for the right to drill in this ecologically and culturally irreplaceable landscape. Now as the acting director of BLM, Mr. Pendley the plaintiff has become the defendant. This is a clear conflict of interest and our senators must ensure, at a minimum, that Mr. Pendley is recused from matters involving the Badger

Moreover, Mr. Pendley should be removed from his position as acting director of BLM as his ideological views make him unfit to lead America’s largest land management agency. But so far only Senator Tester has taken action. Senator Daines has not. Please urge Senator Daines to demand Mr. Pendley’s recusal.

Our incredible public lands deserve someone who will steward them wisely for the benefit of all Americans, not someone who wants to recklessly exploit them and sell them to the highest bidder. The future of the Badger, Glacier, the Bob, and all the other public lands we love, depend on us speaking up.

—Peter Metcalf, Whitefish

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