I have been in Chattanooga for more than 40 years. I live now on Signal Mountain. When I was young, I belonged to a gun club and the NRA. My mother thought that a Southern boy should learn how to shoot a rifle. So I did target practice for years with a bolt action single shot rifle.
That is worlds away from Bushmaster assault rifles with magazines that can hold 30 or more rounds. Such weapons are not what the framers of the Second Amendment had in mind. That amendment was ratified in 1791 when there was no active army on duty. It was designed to make possible a well-regulated militia in case there was a need to defend the country from invasion.
I urge everyone to support legislation that will ban assault weapons which have been used in more than one mass killing this year. Those guns are not appropriate for hunting purposes. They are useful only to kill innocent people like the 20 5- or 6-year-old children in that small Connecticut town. Show the NRA that we, the people, are in charge of this country and not an irresponsible gun lobby that is complicit in the murder of innocent people.
MIKE RUSSELL, Signal Mountain
I approve of the ideas Thursday's Times Free Press letter titled "Moderate gun control needed." Like many who believe in control of assault weapons, I too was a hunter as a youth and young adult, and still believe in being allowed to own and use unregistered weapons for hunting and other sports like target shooting.
I cannot grasp the idea that assault weapons, with their large magazines and rapid fire, can be sporting, legal or effective in shooting wild game, or in target shooting. It seems the intended target for this type of weapon would be people.
The argument that people will still kill others with weapons such as knives, clubs, stones, etc., if they don't have assault weapons melts in the face of reason when considering the setting at Newtown, Virginia Tech or many other mass murder sites. Would anyone feel as safe facing a person with an assault rifle entering your classroom as one entering with a hunting knife or baseball bat? Let's take a first step in protecting our children in public places, while we address the problems of mental illness.
It is interesting to me to note, with the tax rates debate going on, the significant turnaround in the tax rates over the years on certain types of income. Until the Tax Reform Act of 1986, passive income, (dividends, interest, capital gains), was generally taxed at a maximum marginal tax rate of 70 percent, than earned income, (wages, commissions, income from owning a business).
Beginning with the act of 1986, and lowered further by the Bush's tax acts, the reverse has become the norm. Earned income is now taxed at higher marginal rates, with a top of 35 percent. Now dividends and long-term capital gains are taxed at a maximum rate of 15 percent, in some cases a rate of zero applies.
It appears to me that it is patently unfair that income from personal labor is taxed at higher rates than passive income. It is generally acknowledged that a large majority of the taxable passive income accrues to higher income taxpayers, the 2 percent.