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Where do Gun Control Laws and a Politician’s Character Intersect?

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    Where do Gun Control Laws and a Politician’s Character Intersect?

    Where do Gun Control Laws and a Politician’s Character Intersect?

    The Hot Spot | April 27 2016
    Primary day came and went and there were no surprises in New York. Donald Trump won on the Republican line and Hillary Clinton handily took the Democrat top spot. Poor Bernie Sander did well upstate, but got creamed in New York City. Seems like Wall Street gives a candidate more than money, but as this column has long maintained, politics is all about power and money.

    New York State is known for its corrupt political practices from gerrymandering districts to make them “safe” for the favored politicians to the election system that makes it difficult for someone, not a favorite with the party bosses, to get a fair deal when it comes to getting on the ballot. It is really difficult to unseat an incumbent, even the crooked ones. It happens, but is not a common event.

    There is still some time for the legislature to pass some bills after the budget was passed “on time.” A local assemblyman was fuming about the fact that ten parts of the budget were passed with a “message of necessity.” That means the bills were rushed to both chambers without giving the members a chance to debate or even read the provisions of what the budget covered.

    There was a strong rumor that the Republican senators were given an “incentive” to go along with the governor’s demands. Pragmatism has, usually by a large margin, stomped on principles for many, many decades. The power and money aspect reigns supreme. Fear and sweetheart back door deals have also been mentioned during this time. Of course, those accusations are just rumors.

    Nothing so far seems to be moving in the desire of the citizens for ethics reform. At this point, nothing has been passed to deal with term limits, or even a bill to deny pension benefits to the politicians who have been convicted of felonies for stealing from the taxpayers or getting rich by accepting bribes and “considerations.”

    The taxpayer’s interests seem to be the last thing on the minds of the crooked politicians. To be fair, it must be mentioned that there are a number of legislators who are trying to get the situation changed, but the system is rigged to keep them from being effective in their quest. The record shows that most of the politicians convicted of crimes come from downstate.

    How can the spin doctors justify that a politician who is sent to jail for committing felonies dealing with gross dishonesty and criminal activity deserves to get his pension while serving time? Both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, while still waiting to be sentenced after being convicted (there is a long pause between the guilty verdict and the judge doing the sentencing), are scheduled to receive a pension of more than ninety thousand dollars a year.

    There is a statue of Lady Justice wearing a blindfold standing before courthouses. A cynic once said that it isn’t a blindfold. It is a bandage because the crooks gouged out her eyes. Seems like a logical conclusion. So, what can be done to get a better quality regarding electing people to office?

    The governor and the majority of legislators like strong gun control laws and has a strict standard for people who wish to get a pistol permit. The powers that be say it is necessary to ensure that only people of good character should be able to possess a handgun.

    To get that permit, the person must be investigated by the local police, state police and the FBI. They go through a thorough background check and if something turns up in their record, are adjudicated to be mentally unfit to have a gun or are considered to be of poor character, they are denied the right to possess a handgun. The violent crime rate of those who pass this process is exceptionally low.

    If it works so well to protect the citizens from having violent people running around with guns, why wouldn’t that system and process work well to improve the character of our elected officials? Think of the danger we are subjected to by the people who are writing and passing the laws that affect our lives. Wouldn’t the voters be more confident if they knew the person on the ballot passed the qualifications that are necessary to carry a deadly weapon? Good character should be a prime qualification of a political candidate. The records show that “it ain’t necessarily so,” at least for an uncomfortable number of those in office.

    Considering the fact that the office holders have the power to take our money with taxes and pass laws that infringe on our civil and constitutional rights, it isn’t a job that should be held by less that totally honest and honorable people. This could be a good and reasonable first step to achieve that goal. The problem is that the politicians won’t pass laws that could affect them. However, the thought should be in the voter’s minds that if the candidate couldn’t be considered for a pistol permit, can they be trusted to be in public office? Just the thought for the day!

    Budd Schroeder
    Buffalo, NY