Meaningful gun legislation a must

As an octogenarian I don't experience a lot of "firsts" anymore, but I did this morning while working out at one of our fitness centers. The young man on the treadmill to my immediate front was wearing a Kevlar vest.

Whether paranoid or taking reasonable precautions I know not, but I couldn't help but reflect on the depths to which my country has descended. Foreign countries are issuing travel alerts to their nationals intending to visit the United States.

Our most recent spate of mass killings has engendered predictable calls for "sensible" gun control legislation that will, predictably, result in stalemated debate over what is sensible and what our Founding Fathers intended when they added the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution.

Unless we have reached a tipping point in our willingness to accept mass slaughter as a reasonable cost of our right to own guns, the gun lobbies and the politicians in their deep pockets will, once again, prevent meaningful legislation from being passed.

Meaningful legislation must include, but not be limited to, a ban on the manufacture, sale, ownership, and importation of military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines. A reasonable buy back program for assault weapons currently in circulation should be instituted that includes felony charges against those failing to comply.

Robert Hoffman

Santa Maria

Decision time for clean energy

Our county Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors face a choice this week to promote a future of clean energy development in the county or double down on our past history of high risk and polluting oil development.

The ERG and AERA oil project proposals are being stretched out to wear the county down and approve these high intensity, long term drilling schemes, through our drinking water aquifers.

A recent BNP Paribas Bank analysis predicts that oil prices are poised to crash due to future low demand, thanks to rapid clean solar/wind energy production worldwide. The report posits that further oil development will result in major bankruptcies of oil companies with local and national governments picking up the cleanup tab. 

Does Santa Barbara County want to approve 30- to 40-year oil expansion projects in this environment? Haven't we learned our lesson with the Venoco bankruptcy due to the Platform Holly clean up costs?

Please urge your county planning commissioner and supervisor to deny the pending ERG Cat Canyon proposal at their Wednesday meeting. Let's nip this disaster in the bud.

Larry Bishop


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