Tag Archives: Tom Buglio

Ban Dangerous Guns Now!

by Tom Buglio, West Chester

America is reeling from a man-made disaster of unspeakable violence: the Las Vegas gun massacre.

How do we come to grips with a man who stockpiles more than 40 high powered guns with the intent of killing as many people as possible with a shower of automatic gun fire? 59 dead, 527 injured in 10 minutes of terror….how does something like this happen?

As far as we know, the shooter bought the guns legally. Some of the guns were automatic weapons, which fire like machine guns. Some of the weapons were semi-automatic rifles that were modified to shoot like a machine gun. Although heavily regulated and not manufactured since 1989, automatic weapons are legal, as are modifiers for semi-automatics to make them shoot like automatic weapons.

Why? How is it than any citizen needs to own firepower that is so dangerous in the wrong hands? This disturbed man was able to get off thousands of rounds in the space of 10 minutes. THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR MILITARY-STYLE WEAPONS TO BE LEGAL!

Australia suffered its worst mass shooting with a semi-automatic weapon at Port Arthur in 1997 with 37 killed. Within 3 months, Australia banned semi automatic rifles and paid the public to give up these dangerous weapons, destroying over 500,000 guns. Since then, there have been no mass shootings in Australia.

Will our country have the will needed to overcome the gun lobby and do what is necessary to do the same thing? We can’t even pass Universal Background Checks on all gun sales, including private sales, which even 80% of gun owners agree with. The gun lobby will say it is not the gun, it is the shooter. I say that our country does not have a monopoly on dangerous people. At the very least, we can ban the most dangerous of weapons, including confiscating automatics and banning semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 and AK-47, along with their modifiers like bump stocks that make them fire like automatics.

Unless the vast majority of people in this country rise up and demand serious change to save lives, the next mass shooting is right around the corner.

Charlottesville inevitable in the Age of Trump

letter in the Daily Local News, 8/16/17

The violence that happened in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12th, at a White Nationalist rally is shocking and disturbing, but really not surprising.

A young woman was killed and 19 others injured by an avowed Neo-Nazi sympathizer who plowed into a crowd of people with his car. The surprise to me is–with all of the armor and open carry firearms brought to the demonstration for White Supremacy full of hate groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis and others–that gunfire did not break out and more people were not killed and injured. This rally represents the ugly, dark side of a small, but fervent group of supporters of President Trump emboldened by his language of division, scapegoating immigrants, Muslims and our first black President.

Donald Trump has fed the paranoia of white supremacy and bigotry throughout his campaign and term, and has alt-righters like Steve Bannon, Steven Miller and Sebastian Gorka working in the White House shaping his world view every day. No wonder the KKK, Neo-Nazis and others see this presidency as bringing their abhorrent views into the mainstream.

On the day of the violence, Trump called out ‘hatred and bigotry on all sides’ but refused to name White Supremacy or the many hate groups that espouse this corrosive philosophy.  As President of the United States, he has a moral obligation to denounce in the strongest terms all vestiges of the ugly hatred and racism that are part and parcel of the alt right. But Trump cannot bring himself to denounce these bigoted groups by name who strongly support his presidency.

There are so many episodes of instability and chaos related to our President.  Here is hoping that this very important inflection point will expose Donald Trump’s support for racism and division, and will be given the full attention and exposure for the travesty it is, causing more responsible Republicans to distance themselves from his failing Presidency.

More importantly, it is an opportunity for the Republican party itself to stand up to the alt right and separate themselves from its ideology of hatred and influence on their party today.  Marco Rubio, Orin Hatch, and even Ted Cruz stood up and denounced white supremacy. Will our President ever do the same? If not, just one more reason this man is unfit for office.

— Tom Buglio, West Chester
(n.b.: DLN letters are no longer online there)

Road Rage Tragedy Raises Questions about guns in public

by Tom Buglio

Gun violence incidents happen so often in our country, they can lose their power to shock. That is not the case with the tragedy that befell the Roberson family last week when their beautiful 18-year-old daughter, Bianca, was killed in a fit of ‘road rage’ when a young man lost his cool with a loaded pistol in his car. It was so shocking, that the story made national news.

The outpouring of support from the community has been great.

However, I have not seen any story covering the question: “How can we prevent a tragedy like this from happening again?”

Road rage is something that almost every driver has experienced. An AAA study in 2014 concluded that half of the drives surveyed had experienced road rage in the previous year, such as purposely tailgating, yelling at another driver, or honking in anger. And road rage firearms incidents are on the rise. According to Trace.com, there were 247 road rage incidents in 2014 that involved firing a gun. In 2016, the number rose to 620. Over that span, 354 people were wounded and 136 killed, including a 3-year-old who was traveling with his grandmother!

Who is asking the question, “WHY ARE WE PERMITTED TO DRIVE WITH A LOADED GUN IN OUR VEHICLE?” The current law in PA gives permission to anyone who has a concealed carry permit to have a loaded gun in their car. Those who don’t have a permit must have the gun in the trunk unloaded. Does this distinction make any sense?

In addition, gun permit holders are allowed under law to enter a private place of business or private home with their concealed weapon on their person without asking permission of the owner, unless there is a clearly stated sign on the premises stating ‘Guns not Welcome.’ Why should the burden be on the private citizen, rather than the gun owner?

In summary, guns have their place in society, so long as the owner practices responsible gun ownership. But when the rights of the gun owner intrude on the rights of the public to be safe, things need to change.

The young man who killed Bianca Roberson not only snuffed out the life of a young woman in the bloom of her life, but has ruined his life as well. No doubt, he realized what a terrible thing he had just done, probably 10 seconds after he pulled the trigger. His life is absolutely ruined by shame, guilt and possibly a life sentence, with his own family suffering almost as much as the Roberson family. And for what? So he could carry a loaded weapon in his car and feel macho?

The worst kind of tragedies are the ones that could have easily been prevented, like this one.

Congress’ vote on background checks is disappointing

letter from Tom Buglio, Daily Local News, 4/6/17

The country is divided on so many issues, guns being a perfect example. As someone who advocates for gun violence reduction, it has been a real struggle to find any common ground with gun rights advocates. I was hoping that keeping guns out of the hands of those with mental problems could be one of those areas; especially after the tragic and highly publicized shootings such as Aurora, Newtown and Tucson. All three are examples of someone with a mental illness using a firearm with tragic consequences. Surely, we can all agree that people who are mentally unstable, unbalanced, or with a full blown diagnosis of mental illness should not have access to a gun?

US Reps Costello and Meehan apparently do not think so.

President Bush signed a bill after the Virginia Tech tragedy where 32 people were gunned down by a mentally disturbed student in 2007, that required all federal agencies, including the VA, to submit names of people in their care to the National Instant Background Check (NICS) prohibited list when deemed too dangerous to own a gun.

This week’s successful vote on HR1181 – Vet’s 2nd Amendment Protection Act, will effectively cancel this law, and demonstrates once again that our Republican Congress does the bidding of the NRA, to the detriment of the safety of the Veterans and their families. This bill will restore gun rights to 170,000 Vets who may pose a serious danger to themselves and others. Let’s look at the facts:

*20 Vets commit suicide every day
*15,000 Vets who have severe PTSD will get their gun rights restored (DLN 3/23/17)
*19,000 Vets who have schizophrenia will get their gun rights restored (DLN 3/23/17)
*Vets have up to a 61% higher risk of suicide than the general public
*14 retired admirals and generals, including David Petraeus, sent a letter to Congress urging them against this bill Continue reading