Gary Smith: A primitive response
The well written article, “We’re the primitives with guns” by Don Rogers on Aug. 16 made several interesting points.
Let’s start with the statement about not ripping up our Constitution for modern gun control and that gun ownership should be licensed, with militia service as a disqualification.
The Second Amendment says “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.” Membership in an organization should never be used to take away someone’s Constitutional right. This is a slippery slope that will not end.
Should they lose their free speech or search and seizure rights also? What is the next organization membership that would cause someone to lose their rights?
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Don, this is ripping up the Constitution. You suggested that we should have a license to own a gun, like a license to drive a car. Driving a car is a privilege, owning a gun is a Constitutional right, a big difference. Our Constitution gives us many rights, like the The Union newspaper’s right to print what they want and old guys like me the right to say what I please.
The article goes on to say that “we could apply a more intelligent interpretation of the Second Amendment than we have in the modern era.” Our Constitution is not a living document that changes with the times and its interpretations are not easily overturned. It provides for change through a long process to ensure that change is widely accepted.
In Venezuela, the constitution seemingly changes monthly. Comparing Australia and America, both former British colonies to each other is interesting, but they are different and their origins are different. Australia started as a penal colony and was given independence, we fought and died for our independence. Gun ownership is not in Australia’s constitution.
Also discussed was the ownership of assault style weapons. This type of gun has been around for over 100 years. One example is the Thompson submachine gun or “Tommy gun.” For 13 years until 1934 you could buy this fully automatic, machine gun weapon that could hold up to 100 bullets. These guns were used by gangsters during prohibition, yet no one went into a crowded public place and mass murdered strangers. Why now?
The assault style gun is not a appropriate home defense tool for me and I don’t own one. Maybe that type of gun would be a good home defense tool if you lived in a rural part of Nevada County where law enforcement response time can be extended?
There are millions of assault style weapons in circulation now. The mass murderer in Tehama County last year made his own assault style rifle at home because he wasn’t allowed to buy one. He used spare parts and manufactured the regulated part of the gun on his own. So what assault weapon restriction would remove these guns?
To get these guns out of circulation it would require a ban on ownership, not just sales of new weapons and parts. That is what Australia did, citizens turned in their banned guns to law enforcement.
In America this would unleash chaos on our society that would not be worth it. For some of our gun owners this would be the last straw, remember Charlton Heston’s line “out of my cold dead hands.” I find it ironic that police with guns would be taking your legally purchased guns.
Reading this you would think that I am one of above mentioned gun owners, I am not. Gun ownership is not that important to me. What is important to me is our country’s Constitution and its ensuing freedoms that have served us all so well.
Like Don’s article said, we do have a problem with gun violence, and more laws are not going to make the problem go away. Our society has a problem of using violence to solve our issues and it seems to be increasing.
I would like to see us find out why our society has become more violent before we create a false sense of security with radical new gun laws.
Gary Smith lives in Grass Valley.
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