Picture of Johnson County Sheriff, Frank DenningLEE’S SUMMIT, FEBRUARY 12, 2013 – Let me start by giving some background to the letter to the Editor I received recently.  The topic was driven by two news articles, one in the Gardner News on January 24, 2012 entitled “Johnson County Sheriff Denning opposes additional gun control laws” by Danedri Thompson.

In the article Sheriff Denning, of Johnson County made some points that go against the political wind, however are very logical and backed by his experience in Law Enforcement.  Denning issued a press release, after the Newtown Connecticut shooting, in response to a large number of questions he received, in which he states:

From reading the proposed changes and suggestions for future legislation from Washington, I see nothing whatsoever that would have prevented these atrocities from occurring,” Denning said. “Nor do they pretend to effectively prevent future incidents from happening.”

Frank Denning of Edgerton continues by saying that the public outcry is part of a “We seem to be caught up in a tidal wave of mindless emotion that demands, ‘Do SOMETHING!’  Even if we know it is ineffective, meaningless and purely symbolic!” Even in our national grief, we must adhere to reason and logic.”

The point is well taken.  Action without hope for success is meaningless at best and damaging at worst.  The rhetoric, after Congress woman Gabrielle Giffords was shot as she spoke in Arizona in 2011, was heated but fell short of what has been in the press since Newtown Connecticut.  Both events were horrible tragedies.  The shooting in Aurora Colorado was a mindless shout for attention by someone who, when faced by armed police, quickly and quietly surrendered.

On January 21, 2013, Yael T. Abouhalkah, wrote a piece in the Kansas City Star entitled “Johnson County Sheriff defends Murder weapons.”  In his opening paragraph Mr. Abouhalkah states “In a disgusting public statement, Johnson County Sheriff Frank Denning has spoken out favorably for continued manufacturing of the high-capacity magazines used to mow down 20 children in December in Newtown, Conn.

On January 22, 2013, in the Editorial page of the Kansas City Star there was an article entitled, “Johnson County sheriff is wrong about gun safety.” In the early part of the editorial, the author writes:

The very idea, Denning said in a vehement news release, would have the Founding Fathers “spinning in their graves.”

Denning is entitled to his opinion, even if it appears to come directly from a National Rifle Association playbook. As a public official, however, he can’t make up his own “facts.”

The sheriff is wrong when he asserts that “in past (mass shootings), the most effective response…has been resistance by gunfire or the presence of a gun in the hands of a potential victim.”

The following letter to the editor, by Mr. Michael Canipe of Kansas, is in response to these comments:

Letter to the Editor

Over the years, I have accepted the predictable liberal bias that appears daily on The Star’s editorial page.   However, the recent editorial criticizing Sheriff Denning caught my attention.  The editorial states that Mr. Denning’s position is unique among law enforcement officials (it is not) and he is not entitled to his own facts.  The Star quotes noted left-wing magazine Mother Jones, who found that no mass murders have ever been stopped by an armed civilian.   A little research quickly debunks that “fact” – their study was limited to incidents where at least four people were murdered.  This of course ignores mass shootings that were prevented prior to four people being murdered, and I can cite numerous documented cases, some recent, where this indeed occurred.

I believe the majority of sensible citizens on both sides agree with Sheriff Denning’s position that banning certain types of weapons or limiting magazine capacity will not stop future violent acts in our country.   Instead of attacking the second amendment rights of law abiding citizens, we should be focusing on actions that can prevent future violent acts.  These include expanding background checks, addressing mental health issues honestly, and sharing that data between various agencies.

I purposely stayed away from the atrocity in Connecticut.  It is a shame that children died.  It is outrageous that teachers died standing in front of students to protect their lives with their own.  I pray for the parents of the children and for the spouses and family of the teachers and the school principal.  I recognize the heroic nature of their sacrifices:  These were good people, faced with an impossible situation who acted with honor and principles and put gave their lives in an attempt to protect the innocent children.

I respect the incredible fight Gabrielle Giffords put up to keep her life, to regain her mobility, and to overcome her injuries to the extent she has.

I think of the Aurora Theater every time I go to watch a movie.

In each case I wonder, if someone was there with a gun; would they have been able to save one (1) life.  I wonder if painting a sign “Gun Free Zone” is not an invitation for the cowardly, dishonorable, and shameful act of a publicity seeking assailant.

Criminals, by definition, will not follow the law.  Disarming the population will not stop murder.  In China, for example, firearms are strictly forbidden.  Yet on January 29, 2013 a Chinese man made headlines by killing two people with a pair of scissors.  On October 29, 2012 a 49 year old woman made headlines for killing her husband in Cornwall with a pair of scissors which she plunged 3-4 inches deep into his body.

I’d like to close this with Sheriff Frank Denning’s words – which to me ring true.  He states in his press release:

The Bill of Rights does not grant us certain rights as the government sees fit. This sacred document simply acknowledges our rights as they exist. The right to worship your God; the right to speak your mind; the right to vote for your candidate in free elections; the right to own and possess the means to protect yourself, family, home, community, state and country.”

Respectfully Submitted
The Lee’s Summit Conservative