It’s time for common-sense gun laws

October 14, 2017

Once again, a mentally ill person has killed numerous innocent people and reopened the debate between gun owners, gun haters and the NRA. The extreme ends of the debate would either like us to have no gun laws or have no guns. I don’t believe either of these positions will prevail.

While the jury is still out as to why this person decided to kill as many people as he could, I don’t believe there is any doubt that he planned this attack for quite some time. It is also quite apparent that current laws allowed him to stockpile a lot of guns and ammunition as well as devices to turn legal semiautomatics into fully automatic rifles. This is an area where I believe we need to make some changes.

I have been a gun owner since I was 10 years old. I used to belong to the NRA and even wrote a couple of articles for their hunting magazine, but I dropped my membership when they would not support the ban on Teflon bullets. I see the same thing here, as they will not get behind a ban on bump stocks and large magazines.

Let’s just look at a very possible situation where a group of domestic terrorists decide to pull off a really big attack. Being U.S. citizens, they can buy all the long guns and pistols they need, along with plenty of ammunition. Then they can convert the long guns to machine guns, load up those big magazines and hit a soft target like a country music concert, a gay bar or an elementary school. Under current federal laws, there is nothing to let the law enforcement folks know such a stockpile is being compiled. Once the shooting starts, it will be too late.

I believe it is time for responsible gun owners to let their political representatives know they support common-sense laws that will prevent stockpiling guns and ammunition, and the sale of large magazines and bump stocks. I have no doubt that before any law can be passed, there will be a rush to build and sell as many guns, ammunition and bump stocks as the manufacturers can turn out. I also have little doubt that anything will change.

DMS Surf-Fishing Tournament

Last weekend saw 221 hopeful anglers turn out for the 11th annual Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen’s Tournament. On Saturday, contestants were allowed to fish Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore state parks, but on Sunday, only Cape Henlopen was open. The ocean was a bit rough, but the weather was beautiful and fish were caught on both days.

The top angler was Andrew Stuchilk, who amassed 102 points to take home $1,000 and a trophy. In second place with 53 points was Mike Walker, who took $750 and another trophy. Wendy King came in third with 44 points and was awarded $500 and a trophy. Wendy also won first place in the Women’s Division to earn another $300 and yet another trophy. Darren Purcell was fourth with 42 points. He won $250.  

As noted above, Wendy King won the Women’s Division. Joan Fortner was second with 26 points, winning $225 and a trophy. Third place and $150 plus a trophy was won by Karen Alexander with 16 points. Fourth-place finisher was Kelsey Cycyk with 19 points. She won $100. The trophies in the Women’s Division were sponsored by Lazy Susan’s Hot Fat Crabs.

The top three ladies were in the top 10 for overall points. Could a lady win the overall points? You bet!

Gavrie Kramer took top honors in the Youth Division with 12.5 points. In second place was Jason Cain with 11.5 points. Both boys won rods and reels plus a trophy sponsored by Rick’s Bait and Tackle.

Chad Leppo caught the largest fish of the tournament, an 18.75-inch flounder. That fish was worth $750.

The Bluefish Calcutta was a tie between Andrew Stuchilk and Donald Tuohey, who split the $2,000 prize.

The volunteers who put on this tournament are invaluable to its success. Bruce West is the DMS president, and Keith and Lydia Schmierer are the co-chairs of the tournament.  I would like to personally thank Margaret Mood for running off the tally sheets, saving me the opportunity to make numerous mistakes trying to copy the results.

OC Angler’s tournament 

Last weekend was also the Ocean City Angler’s Club Surf Tournament, and a Delaware team sponsored by Lewes Harbour Marina placed second. Bill Haase was the captain and Jeff Sherwood was co-captain. Other team members were Jack Austin, Chris Vann, Tom Wood and Mike Thompson. As a result of their good luck, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network received a $300 donation.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at