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Guns | Assualt rifles | Gun Controls | Gun-control opinion | Pop's Sweet Shop Specials for Parade of Lights | Deadline for Minonk History Book Vols. 2 and 3 is Dec. 8th |


I believe Mr. Witczak was responding to the "Editor's reply" and not me. The placement of the names is confusing. The term assault weapon can refer to a brick if you are assaulted with it. Assault rifle refers to a selective fire rifle witch is illegal to manufacture for, or sell to civilians as it can be fired as an automatic. A correct term for the weapons used in the San Bernardino, CA attack would be Simi-automatic look alike..

Dan O'Neil

Gun Controls

Dave, I would like to respond to your opinion article. Before I do, I would admit my opinion is based on the fact that I have been a shooting sport enthusiast all my life. As a young man I served as a member of The Fort Knox Rifle and Pistol Team and advanced to The 2nd United States Army Rifle and Pistol Team. Nothing in this gun debate irritates me more than to see people with a soapbox and very limited knowledge expounding misinformation. You erroneously stated automatic weapons were used in the San Bernardino, CA attack. In this country manufacture of automatic weapons has been banned since 1934 and ownership of automatic weapons has been banned since 1986. It is my understanding the FBI stated the weapons used were legal, therefore not automatic weapons. The only thing this political motivated gun debate has accomplished is to sell an enormous amount of guns.

Dan O'Neil

Editor's reply; You are right that I erroneously stated that automatic weapons were used. I meant to say assault weapons and I will make that correction. Everyone who speaks on gun control is doing it from a soap box because we are expressing our opinion. I am not against all guns, just assault weapons. My opposition against assault weapons is not based on limited knowledge? It is based on a fact people are being killed by assault weapons and that is why I am against them.

George Witczak: Maybe Dan should start by looking up the definition of an assault rifle first.

Kevin Persic: Definition George Witczak...Prior to 1989, the term "assault weapon" did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of "assault rifles."

Kevin Persic: What about homemade pipe bombs or IED's made from RC toy cars "editor?" Or maybe these farmers should not be able to purchase fertilizer, which caused the devastating explosion in OK city bombing. When will people stop blaming guns and blame the nut job who kills?

Pop's Sweet Shop Specials for Parade of Lights

Here's some specials Pops is having for the Parade of Lights.

Opening early at 7 am for Biscuits & Gravy and coffee.
Homemade Soups and Gondolas starting at 10:30am.
Stop in to register for free drawing for Snowman Cupcake Cake and Christmas Tree Cupcake Cake.
Santa will stop at Pop's after the parade. Stop in for a visit and a goodie bag.

Amy Rossman
Pops Sweet Shop


Comments on gun control

I do not feel as though I can idly sit by without commenting on your editorial about gun control. This is such a personal, heated, and divisive subject, I am actually surprised you chose to open the floor on this topic. As you are well aware, I was raised with firearms in my home. My Dad was both a hunter and a policeman. From the age of six or seven, I started plinking with a BB gun. By age 12 or 13, I was hunting rabbits and pheasants with a shotgun and squirrels with a .22 rifle. In my late teens, I became much more interested in handguns, and in my late 20's, I purchased my first "assault" rifle, as you would call it. I took an all-day hunter safety course when I was 13, have always followed the laws when purchasing weapons and ammunition, have a FOID card in this state, and when I lived in Indiana, even had a conceal-carry permit. I am a member of the NRA and was a member of the Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association (ISRPA). The point of all this is that I have lived a life with firearms around me. Living on a farm, I'm pretty sure you were raised around them as well. Some of my most fond memories are of my Dad and I hunting and shooting. Since the passing of my Dad, I've had many more fond memories of shooting at the range with my wife and friends. It is a way of life for myself and for many, many Americans. In fact, in a recent poll, it is estimated nearly 40% of all homes in America have firearms.

Firearms are not toys and should always be handled safely and responsibly. With that in mind, I understand one side of your argument. I am in full support of expanded identification and background checks for people that purchase firearms. I also support training and safety requirements for people that own firearms. I'll even go a step further and agree there are certain weapons that no civilian should be allowed to own. The obvious examples include items such as hand grenades, grenade launchers, missile launchers, and landmines. I'd also agree there is no civilian use for a rifle with a size greater than a 50 caliber or a fully automatic machine gun. I also agree certain ammunition such as armor piercing bullets, shrapnel and flechette rounds, and incendiary rounds are not intended for civilian use.

In your editorial, you demonized assault rifles while trying to ride the fence by allowing the ownership of firearms for the purpose of hunting. This segues into the definition of an "assault" rifle. I have seen this defined in many ways and I'll admit, I'm not a lawyer - I do not know any of the legal definitions. However, in my opinion, an "assault" rifle is one that typically has one or more modes of firing that spend more than one round per pull of the trigger, i.e. the rifle has either a three round burst or fully automatic mode. A rifle is not an assault rifle just because it is black or because it has a composite stock. I guarantee you there are plenty of people in the US that have hunting rifles with black composite stocks. They are much lighter and easier to carry in the field than a heavy wooden stock. A weapon is not an assault rifle just because it fires the same round as a military assault rifle. Yes the military M-16 fires a 5.56 mm round, which is for most intents and purposes, the same as the civilian .223 caliber, but the .223 caliber round is considered a common hunting round for smaller game. Likewise, the AK-47 assault rifle uses a 7.62 mm round, which is generally synonymous with .30 caliber civilian ammunition. Again, the .30 caliber rifle is probably the most common hunting rifle in North America for all types of game. Finally, a rifle is not an assault rifle just because it has a magazine that holds more than ten rounds. The key point here is rate of fire. If civilian pistols and rifles are semi-automatic, that is, one pull of the trigger releases one round, then there really is no huge advantage to having a 20 or 30 round magazine other than convenience. The capacity of the magazine, in my opinion, is only important when firing a fully automatic weapon.

Even if I did agree with your faulty argument against our second amendment rights, there are a couple questions that should probably be answered first. How many people are killed with firearms in the US, does arming the population actually affect the violent crime rate, and if firearms are not the problem, then what is?

According to the CDC, in 2013, about 8,100 murders were committed in the US with firearms of all types. There are about 319 million people in the US. That is a rate of 0.0025%. By comparison, the total murder rate for people in the US is 0.0045%. Lets put that into perspective. The number of people that die as a direct result of drunk driving in the US is 13,870 per year. That's about 71% more deaths than those caused by firearms. Following that logic, the US would be more safe if we outlawed alcohol again than if we outlawed firearms. Clearly, firearms do not appear to be the problem.

Next is the question of whether gun laws affect the rate of violent crimes? The answer would be yes, but contrary to your argument, the results suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. I urge you to look at the actual, unbiased statistics. Ask the CDC or the state police. Don't take the word of either the liberal or conservative news outlets, both of which are undeniably biased.

The final point I make is if firearms are not the problem and restricting their availability only makes the problem worse, then what is the problem? The country has a growing population of mental illness that is not being properly diagnosed, treated, and cared for. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 27% of all Americans have been afflicted by some type of mental disease whether it be depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or a host of others. As we both know, some of these are minor and most are nonviolent. However, the number of minor and major disorders is steadily increasing. Many of the studies I have read suggest this is due to environmental issues such as stress and long working hours as well as poor diet, lack of exercise, and various chemical toxins. The problem in this country is not guns. Guns are simply a convenient tool that a small percentage of the population choose to use when their mental health issues are not addressed. In my opinion, the mental health issues are a direct result of the socioeconomic struggles within this country that force the lower and middle classes to work the longest and hardest hours of any civilized nation in history. This causes acute mental stress and anxiety. It also causes chronic issues as children are left alone to fend for themselves while parents have to work long hours or multiple jobs to make ends meet. So in summary, don't blame guns for the problems in this country, blame the economy. Put people back to work and pay them a wage with which they can comfortably raise a family. As a side note, it would probably also help if the liberal media didn't sensationalize gun violence as it so commonly does.

Eric Olson

Editor's reply: Eric, I agree with most of your comments. Again, I state that I am not against all guns, just guns that are made to kill many people quickly.

Assualt rifles

Everyone should read this to get his facts straight about how many are actually killed with "bad boy" assault rifles.

An assault rifle is nothing more than a semi-auto that is military styled. The AR-15 is modular and customizable, just two features that make it so popular. My Ruger ranch rifle fires the same caliber .223 and will accept a 30-round magazine, which, so far, I see no need for.

Jim Flynn

Gun-control opinion


May I make some comments on your gun-control position?

First, the NRA and the Illinois State Rifle Assn. are nothing more than your neighbors and countrymen, who happen to think differently than you. As a member of both, I don't feel that I have "blood on my hands." Why? Because laws define crime, they do not prevent it. France is one of the toughest gun-control countries, yet that did not stop the recent massacre. Their laws did, however, assure the murders that no citizens would be shooting back. I don't wish to live so helplessly.

Our politicians want to close the "gun-show loophole." Let them close it, but we will not be safer, because only 2% of guns used in crime can be traced to a gun show sale. A good read by the CATO Institute on this subject:

We lose our liberty one slice at a time. That is why the NRA is unbudging on most gun laws. One just leads to another in our misinformed government's attempts to find a solution to the mass shootings. Citizens are stripped of
their rights, while criminals, who don't obey laws, will continue.

Jim Flynn

Pople GarrettFamily: If there's a "gun show loophole" then how come when I bought my PX4 (at a gun show) they ran the full FFL paperwork?

Deadline for Minonk History Book Vols. 2 and 3 is Dec. 8th

We hope you have been enjoying The Minonk History Book volume 1. The first order was sold out. Additional books will be ordered for those who have not yet received their copy of volume 1 or who wish to give them as Christmas presents.

Volume 2 of the History is nearly ready to be sent to the printer. In order to determine the number of copies of volumes 2 and 3 needed, subscribers are asked to make a $40 deposit to be split between the two volumes. Upon request before the books are delivered, any deposit will be refunded.

A form can be downloaded which requests your name and access information for mailing or communication purposes. Please fill out the form and either hand it and your payment to a cashier at the Minonk Community Bank or mail the form and check to: Minonk History Book, PO Box 212, Minonk, II 61760.

Make all checks payable to Minonk History Book.

Please make payments by December 8th so that volume 2 can be ordered and delivered by Christmas.

To download an order form, click here.

Barth Weistart