“No” – By Kevin Puskar
“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.” – Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” – from the Declaration of Independence.
Guaranteed until the right to own a semi-automatic rifle with a 30-or 100-round clip trumps the right to life by ending up in the hands of a terrorist bent on squeezing the trigger as fast as he can, firing searing shrapnel into human flesh and bone, shredding internal organs until the magazine is empty – only to reload and begin firing again.
Congress is trying to address this national emergency by advancing bipartisan legislation to increase background checks on gun purchases. A preponderance of shell-shocked citizens are demanding protection for our children. Explain to any thinking person why the Second Amendment carries more power than the “right to life.”
I’m a gun owner and former member of the National Rifle Association, a hunter who enjoys the woods and putting meat on my table, but I’m for background checks. I go to the woods with a shotgun or a rifle with never more than three rounds in the gun I carry for that day’s hunt. If you need more than three, go to the range and learn to shoot, the old guys tell me.
We were told those awful liberals were coming for our guns. We were told the Clintons were coming for our guns, Obama was coming for our guns, the parents of the kids from Sandy Hook and then the students from Parkland. Bipartisan legislation to advance background checks is a reasonably sane way to address a national emergency, the murder of innocent citizens at the hands of terrorists armed with semi-automatic rifles and handguns.
Somehow, I don’t feel safer or more empowered because of Cherokee County’s gun sanctuary resolution. My less-than-scholarly interpretation is that our commissioners passed a largely symbolic resolution to illuminate and reject the notion of big government overreach.
Hiding behind the Constitution to invoke the Constitution for fabricating an emergency when there is none is one of the cheapest political stunts imaginable. But we’ve seen that cheapness lately; from my cold, dead hands.
Kevin Puskar of Murphy is a native of Florida. He earned a degree in computer engineering and technology before spending most of his working life in the computer and technology industry, then as a licensed financial advisor. He is the author of A Path Runs Through It.
“Yes” – By Hugh Williamson
I believe there are actually two questions here. Should we have done this, and do we have a legal, or constitutional, right to do so? I answer yes to both questions.
I consider that this declaration is legally a petition to the federal government.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that the American people have the right to petition the federal government for a redress of grievances. I consider that we are asking for a redress, a favorable response to a grievance.
We are saying many state laws and federal court decisions have violated the Second Amendment, which says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Infringed means to be interfered with in any significant way.
When private citizens are required to find ways to do extensive background checks on anyone to whom they wish to sell a firearm they own, this is a cumbersome and significant infringement. When citizens are required to pay special additional taxes to buy guns and/or ammunition this is a significant infringement. These and various other infringements are being proposed in several states.
Some politicians demand that all, or almost all, guns in private hands be confiscated. This is outrageous. Cherokee County’s declaration is a statement that we will not be bound by these and any other constitutional infringements. It is wholly legal.
The second question is whether or not we should have made this declaration. I very much believe we should have. The right of private citizens to keep and bear arms has been a basic right of all Americans since the earliest days of the colonies.
Many people did use, and still do use, firearms to hunt for food. Many others use them for recreational shooting. And I firmly believe that armed citizens do deter crime. When criminals don’t know who may be carrying a concealed handgun, they are less likely to commit rape, breaking and entering, carjacking, etc.
We are right to be very concerned with gun crime. However, the way to control it is not to attempt to take guns from a people whose Constitution guarantees them the right to their possession and use. Our great need is to find better ways to deal with mental illness.
I strongly congratulate our county commissioners and sheriff for speaking out clearly on this issue. Thank you, gentlemen.
Hugh Williamson of Bellview is a native of Missouri. He holds masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri. He spent most of his professional life as a teacher and administrator at the University of Idaho and University of Wisconsin-Stout.