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August 29, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Gun culture is not what was intended

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A week after the murder of 20 grade-school kids and six of their teachers and administrators, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said the only way to stop bad guys with guns in our schools is with good guys with guns. LaPierre says nothing about banning assault weapons and large clips, such as those used at Sandy Hook Elementary School, so I assume the proposed new “rental cop” would need his own machine gun as an “equalizer.” That would be a lot of bullets flying around, but at least the NRA chief did not suggest arming the teachers and students, too.

The gun folks say they are horrified by the slaughter at Sandy Hook, but the availability of military weapons and their occasional misuse is just the price we pay for freedom. They argue that the Second Amendment makes us all part of a militia to maintain our freedom from the tyranny of “big governments,” both foreign and domestic.

If I understand their logic correctly, I should be able to buy a few surface-to-air missiles. After all, “big governments” have jet fighters and bombers, you know! Of course, some nut might use his missiles to shoot down a few of our airliners, and I’d be horrified by it, but that shouldn’t keep responsible people from owning missiles. It is just a regrettable price we pay for our freedom.

It is not clear to me that the gun lovers are interpreting the Second Amendment as it was intended. What is clear is that our easy access to guns has put America under siege from its own citizens.

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  1. Bitts,

    Left-wing activist group MoveOn.org circulated a petition for federal lawmakers to implement the same school security idea following the Dec. 14 attack.

    Bitts, two pistols in each hand with six rounds each equals a 12 round clip.

  2. No need to "guess" what the 2nd amendment means or says any more than we have to "guess" what the 1st means or says. All Amendments were put in place neither to hamper nor to restrict the citizens of the USA but as a check on government, be it local or federal. The Constitution has been widely trampled by the "useful idiots" on the left and they continue to agitate for more of its shredding. A pox on them!

  3. Rights impute powers: The power to do and the power to be. Rights also impute consequential rights. Rights are guaranteed, powers are regulated. This applies to all the Amendments: The First as well as the Second. Conservatives spend their hundreds of millions every month for the Second. Liberals spend their hundreds of millions every month for the First. Who's right and who's wrong? Both for both.

    The Dems sat by silently on gun control for over 30 years. So has President Obama until recently. Why? For fear of losing elections. Dems are just as much to blame as the NRA for where we are today with the out of control gun culture in the USA. A consolidated political decision not to act is an action. It's cost many lives, unnecessarily. And it's not all the NRA and GOP's fault as the lamestream liberal media would have us believe.

    CarmineD

  4. The NRA has a reported membership of about 4 million members or slightly more than 1% of the population. It wields political influence and power disproportionate to its numbers. But, this shouldn't surprise us. It seems, too often, to be the case when it comes to political influence and power.

  5. Author, no...you don't understand that correctly.

  6. With the resent killing of 2 firemen and the wounding of 2 other firemen in Webster a suburb of Rochester N.Y.By ex-convict William Spengler Jr.Being a convicted felon for the murder of his grandmother, Spengler was not allowed to own fire arms.He owned a assault rifle,shootgun,and a pistol.

    How he obtained them is anyone's guess,the gun show loophole is a possibility.Under current law holders of firearms arms liscenses are to conduct background checks on sales made at gun shows.Private individuals at such events are exempt from doing so.

    If you want to buy a weapon you can do so by going to a gun show and buy one from an individual and no one would no the difference,what's wrong with this picture,nothing if your a criminal.

  7. "They argue that the Second Amendment makes us all part of a militia to maintain our freedom from the tyranny of "big governments," both foreign and domestic."

    Bitts -- that was covered in the U.S. Supremes' first great Second Amendment decision, 2008's Heller v. District of Columbia -- "when the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny" and "history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able-bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people's arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents" (slip opinion pages 24-25).

    "All Amendments were put in place neither to hamper nor to restrict the citizens of the USA but as a check on government, be it local or federal."

    lvfacts -- actually the Bill of Rights protects all people, not just citizens. And it applies directly only to the federal government, not state or local. The correct application is through the 14th Amendment -- the other great Second Amendment case, 2009's McDonald v. City of Chicago explained that.

    "If you want to buy a weapon you can do so by going to a gun show and buy one from an individual and no one would no the difference,what's wrong with this picture,nothing if your a criminal."

    samspeaks -- actually nothing is wrong for the individual. There are more than plenty of gun restrictions in place chilling the exercise of freedoms by law-abiding citizens. A good example is Connecticut has some of the strictest gun control laws in America, check that @ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...

    "...government security is just another kind of violence." -- Rep. Ron Paul today @ http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/dec...

  8. I see six categories of gun owners.

    1) Police & Military who are empowered to protect the community and the nation.

    2) The citizen who feels a need for self protection and protection of property by the use of a gun.

    3) Hunters owning guns to kill threatened and non-threatening animals as a hobby.

    4) Criminals to overpower through threat of death, and to carry out those threats in the commission of a crime.

    5) Impotents, who fear just about everything and need weapons to gain some false sense of control for protection against just about everything. These Impotents may have arsenals of weapons.

    6) Mentally disturbed individuals suffering from delusional paranoia.

    There is a good argument that 5 and 6 could be closely link or one and the same.

    I think it is time for a new amendment to the Constitution that defines a militia, and separates the rights of the private citizen to gun ownership, stating the limitations, and the regulatory power of the government.

    Regardless of the Supreme Court decision, the 2nd Amendment was poorly written, leading to difficulties in accepting any interpretation.

    This gun frenzy is out of control and endangers innocent people from all of the above six categories in one way or another.

    Fascist governments begin with fascist groups of citizens. Facilitating fascist groups with gun ownership only makes it easier for these groups to become terrorists. It isn't a leap to see that happening here given the political climate today.

    At the same time, the interests of the people in preventing a government from becoming fascist is in the hands of the people, not through weapons, which today is a huge mismatch, but through the vote.

    Good governance flows from good citizenship, which includes,

    1) The willingness to serve in government, representing the people with integrity.

    2) The faithfulness of an educated and knowledgeable vote by all eligible voters.

    All of the ills of our current system are directly related to the People. We have given over the store to the mice through complacency.

    True security comes from all citizens treating each other with compassion, respect, tolerance, and understanding, without divisions in the name of business profits, ideologies, or religious beliefs.

    We don't have to agree on all things, but we do need to be closer in being able to find reasonable compromise for the good of all the People. For this we need reasonable people representing us.

    We are in a deepening moral crisis in our country. We must change ourselves before we can think of our government changing.

  9. peacelifly,

    Here is a quote often attributed (probably wrongly) to Ben Franklin: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

    Whether or not Franklin really said that, the principle is valid.

  10. boftx,

    Sounds like something from the past or present.

    Not very reassuring to think of armed lambs and threatened wolves, also armed with big teeth and ferocity.

    Seems we Americans have evolved very little.

    Now a little sarcastic un-humor...

    Maybe the NRA should form a church for the gun worshipers, they could mount a Golden Assault Rifle above the Altar, and serve a communion of freshly shot meat. They could call it the Church of Holy Lock 'N Load, more correctly Load 'N Lock!

    I could carry this on to even more obscene sarcasm, but I can't bring myself to do it. A little self-censorship on my Liberty.

  11. The great and wonderful American freedom experiment is coming to a head in many areas which were once germane to freedom. The focus is on the Second Amendment now, but an affront has been waged on all parts of the Constitution.

    After reading papers written by many scholars- St. George Tucker, William Rawle, Lysander Spooner, Joseph Story, John Brown, around the time when the USA was founded, near I read limits were placed to prevent excess in the way of the people to bear arms. To be sure the limits were of the minimum order, which meant not less than 24 cartridges to be on hand per call of duty.

    How silly of the Constitutional drafters to pen rights that protect we the people from government. At the beginning of American' independence weapons were outlawed in England and the King was omnipotent, this simple law was the main reason for "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

    Perhaps we need a Constitutional Convention, maybe every century to infuse new meaning or to remove outdated verbiage no longer relevant. We could establish a one line Constitution that reads: Government shall have the ominous power to rule all.

  12. "I think it is time for a new amendment to the Constitution that defines a militia, and separates the rights of the private citizen to gun ownership, stating the limitations, and the regulatory power of the government."

    peacelily -- your post should have been a letter to the editor, worthy of its own Discussion. Lots of rights and almost-rights in it. For starters, you should take the time to read both the U.S. Supremes' Heller and McDonald decisions. It did all you mentioned, so no amendment needed.

    I disagree with your "gun frenzy is out of control," though it seems well-intentioned. I think the "frenzy" is caused by an omnipresent media latched on to a hot issue -- lately it seems every time someone in this country without a badge pulls a trigger it's on the news.

    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb..."

    boftx -- good reminder, and I think ol' Ben was trying to tell us something about the unchanging predatory part of human nature. The same principle is behind itty bitty ditties like "Trust in God but keep your powder dry" and "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition."

    "The focus is on the Second Amendment now, but an affront has been waged on all parts of the Constitution."

    Gunslinger -- excellent point from a good post. My own observation is the Constitutions have been abandoned by all, except for the quaint formality when swearing in. And why not? Who's going to do anything about it? So long as We the people act more like We the herd, we deserve to be treated like livestock. <insert preferred rant here>

    Our emphasis here should be more on why that little girl's body was found days after she went missing, and justice for the crime.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace..." -- Thomas Paine "The Crisis" first printed in the Pennsylvania Journal, December 19, 1776 (it opens with that famous sentence "These are the times that try men's souls")

  13. It is not legal to pass any law that requires a person to wear a gun if they are opposed, particularly where their profession has nothing to do with the use of a gun.

    The Preamble to the Constitution has the words: "insure domestic tranquility".

    The presence of armed guards in everyday activities, ready to drop, aim and fire does not describe tranquility. Guns in the classroom are not part of the learning environment, they are not part of academics or the debating process. No other country in this world requires guns in their academic classrooms and this country will not have them either.