Published DateTo the editor,
There comes a time when cooler heads must analyze what some of the more passionate members of our society have to say. Being in possession of a cooler head, I will attempt to shine some light on the great Second Amendment debate. Both the Constitution and the amendments thereto were an attempt to create a document that put all the newly independent states on the same page as related to governance. It was, admittedly, not a perfect document. Hence the amendments were created to get the whole thing passed in each of the state legislatures. Some liked the main document others liked the amendments but all felt the need to get it done because the Articles of Confederation were making them vulnerable to takeover by perceived enemies.
I understand that there are a lot of people who use the Second Amendment as a security blanket. It allows them to have some physical protection from real or imagined treats to their safety. However, extreme individual members of our society, both legal and illegal, are bending the meaning of the aforementioned amendment. For the time being, we will set aside the illegal aspect of our society as relates to gun possession because that is a police problem covered by laws already on the books and deemed enforceable and constitutionally sound.
Let me now digress and use my own history with firearms. I prefer to call them that because that is what the manufacturers call them. I grew up in the state of Kansas. As a boy of the plains, I had a daisy air rifle when I was eight. By the time I was twelve I was allowed to use a 22-caliber rifle for hunting small game for food. I became quite accurate because my teacher and father did not like me to do body shots. I was allowed to use his 12 gage as well. I never really liked it much because I couldn't get anywhere near the accuracy of my dear old dad. He was a master of the shotgun. He used to let me get the first shot and the bring the bird down after I had missed. I more or less failed the test and contented myself with carrying the birds when I went out with him for pheasant, quail or prairie chicken.
When I joined the Coast Guard I quite easily qualified on both the side arm and the M-One carbine. The sergeant always liked the country boys; made his job easy he said. He took us aside and showed us the basics of field stripping and put us in charge of teaching the "city boys" how to do the same. Although I never got into any active combat, I was trained on some seriously lethal guns and other firepower aboard ship.
After service, I gave up guns completely except when I visited the old homestead. For old time's sake I would go hunting and fishing with dad. College, marriage and family and a career in teaching took me away from home for good. Fast forward 40 years or so and I once again owned a gun. In order to spend some quality time with my new son-in-law, I bought a Winchester 30/30 bolt action with iron sights. Deer hunting was the objective. I got off a few shots but never hit anything. Probably needed a scope but too cheap to buy one. The son-in-law usually got his deer and I helped drag it out of the woods. Sound familiar? After a few years of that, I quit going out and sold the gun to one of his friends. He was in need of some fishing instruction so I endeavored to make him an expert in that area of sporting.
Now, to the purpose of my letter without further trips down memory lane. Number one, I do not feel threatened in either my home or my community. I know lots of people who own guns now and I trust that will not ever invade my home in anger or sell their guns to someone who would use them illegally. Most of the people who own the guns that I am aware of, possess them for hunting or for protection in their business requiring them to carry cash or other valuables. They own pistols, rifles or shotguns. Not a semi or full automatic in the bunch. Maybe a few own small caliber automatics but only because they learned and feel comfortable carrying with a concealed permit. I have had a few lively conversations with these friends and most agree that the ban on assault rifles and pistols with expanded clips was and would be a good and proper restriction, second amendment considerations not withstanding. The permitting issue is ripe for revision and concentrated enforcement. This is especially true in our urban areas. Local police and the federal agencies need to review their options. Laser focus is needed on their training procedures and, once trained, their officers need support when it becomes evident assault weapons are being use unlawfully in their precincts
Further, John Q. Citizen needs to calm down and quit going out and buying their wife a gun. Instead, go out and by a few trigger locks or a gun safe so the kids don't come into possession of a gun. In most cases, the average high school freshman has no firearms training and is a danger to him or herself and others. The others usually includes their parents, friends, siblings and teachers.