March 17, 2013

Letter: Don’t give up our right to defend ourselves

Bloggers from the U.K. are warning Americans not to give in to our government’s demand for gun control. They gave up their guns and are now remorseful. Their advice: don’t give up your constitutional right to defend yourselves.

We live in a constitutional republic and not a democracy for good reason. We select our representatives in a democratic election, but those representatives must work within the principles spelled out in our Constitution. The Second Amendment is our guarantee for all other constitutional freedoms: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Recent history is full of instances of tyrannical governments that began their reign by disarming their citizens. In Cuba and the U.S.S.R. failure to turn in your firearms got you shot. In 1938, Nazi Germany denied Jews the right to own weapons. Our founders were aware of what immoral, tyrannical governments could do to their citizens. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

Following the Newtown, Conn., massacre in December, China urged the U.S. to pass gun control legislation like theirs. New York was the first state to quickly push through tougher gun laws and Colorado is close behind. New York chose to ban some rifles, weapons used in a very small percent of violent crimes. A major problem is the definition of “assault weapon.” Any weapon that fires a projectile is by definition an assault weapon, whether it’s a rifle, slingshot, pistol, bow or shotgun.

Some laws pertaining to gun ownership make sense. Background checks are necessary so that criminals and crazies can be denied, but criminals don’t obey laws, and identifying a dangerous mental illness is difficult.

When our nationally elected officials are installed, they swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the Second Amendment in limited rulings. Any elected official, whether in the legislative or executive branch of government, who has a problem with the Constitution should be removed from office. (Unfortunately, Supreme Court justices are exempt.)

Trust the Second Amendment. Law enforcement will respond after you are in trouble. It’s foolish to be unable to protect yourself while you wait.

Ina Fay Manly