Letter to the Editor

Regarding Margorie Casswell’s Jan. 22 letter, “Unite with Bob Ferguson and ban assault weapons,” law-abiding firearms owners have been told for years by sly activists and politicians, “nobody wants to take your guns away!”

With the antics of the governor and legislature in Virginia, we see the unvarnished attempt to seize lawfully-owned firearms from citizens, accompanied by threats from the government.

There is a nationwide push for this unconstitutional activity.

The founders did not carefully craft the Second Amendment so that Daniel Boone could go deer hunting.

They knew from experience what tyrants are capable of, and they understood that citizens must be able to defend themselves from criminals, mad men and totalitarians.

The assault rifles of the founders’ day included the “Pennsylvania Rifle,” a muzzle-loader with grooved barrel that was capable of accurate 300-yard shots, the long land Brown Bess, a smoothbore muzzle-loader, locally-produced and authorized “Committee of Safety” muskets, the French-built Charleville musket and the British-built Ferguson, a breech-loading musket accurate to 100 yards.

These weapons were capable of firing multiple rounds per minute, and when Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the west, they were equipped with a Girandoni air rifle which could fire 22 .46 caliber lead balls (liberal politicians would call that ‘high-capacity’) in 30 seconds. 

It was demonstrated effectively at targets several times to impress overly-curious Native American groups and discourage aggression.

All of our nation’s technologies have improved since those days

Under Clinton, a 10-year assault weapons ban was enacted, which ended when authorities determined that the ban had no effect on overall criminal activity, firearm homicides, lethal gun crimes and was actually associated with a decrease in mass shootings.

Proven not to work, assault weapons bans are still the darling of anti-gunners.

Making the scary-looking guns go away appeals to the timid and uninformed among us, even though mass shootings, including the recent Texas church shooting, are often committed using shotguns, bolt-action rifles and handguns.

Many shootings have been stopped by law-abiding firearms owners.

Semi-automatic firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns used by millions of target shooters and hunters, are feared and misunderstood by anti-gun folks, and “high-capacity magazines” are also a target of their crusades.

This although mass shootings last only six to 12 seconds statistically (911 calls are a faint hope), and rarely involve large magazine counts, with shooters often being tackled, shot or otherwise disabled while they attempt to reload.

Casswell dramatically agonizes about guns “terrorizing our communities,” but it is reasonable to ask:

What does she suggest when a criminal violates numerous gun laws, breaches security at a school, theater, mall, restaurant or other public place and gains access to a group of terrified citizens?

Harsh language?

Point meaningfully at the “Weapons Free Zone” sign?

Wave a sheaf of gun laws at them?

Call 911?

There will eventually be SWAT Teams, ambulances, media vans, coroners wagons, candlelight vigils for the dead, but gun laws do nothing to stop criminals.

They only harm honest citizens.

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(5) comments

ILovetheConstitution

Mr Larimer, did I lose you by being too long-winded? If so, I apologize.

I would like to read your thoughts about my comments.

ILovetheConstitution

Mr. Larimer, I have two counter arguments to your points about limiting First Amendment rights:

1. This discussion is not about the First Amendment, but rather the Second. They're very different. My printer doesn't maim or kill. I suppose I could bash somebody with it, but that would not be its main purpose. The primary purpose of high capacity, automatic weapons is to kill humans. They have practically no sporting use.

2. There are, in fact, severe limits on First Amendment rights. Making threats, publishing copyright protected material without the owner's permission, divulging classified information, or trade secrets, all can get a person into a world of trouble. The maximum penalty for terrorist threats is life in prison. All these limits have been upheld in court precedent.

Constitutional rights are not absolute.

ILovetheConstitution

Mr Larimer, thanks for your counterargument. You make good points.

Here's the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, a document that is my scripture:

"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."

Here's "Militia" in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:

1a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency:

The militia was called to quell the riot.

b : a body of citizens organized for military service

2 : the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

When was the last time a legally constituted militia, that was part of the U. S. military, was called to duty within our beloved country? I'm not talking about self-appointed militias, but legally valid ones.

I can see somebody owning high-capacity, automatic weapons, if she belongs to the National Guard, or some other legally recognized military unit, or if she's a police officer (police swear to uphold the Constitution), but for a civilian, in my opinion, it makes absolutely no sense.

The neighbor of a dear friend, near La Center, proudly owns an AR-15. He (the neighbor) is a perfectly nice fellow, but a little paranoid, and he likes his drinks. His teenage son, who's an impulsive little snot, also has access. The guns are not stored in a safe. I'm scared to death he or his son are going to cut somebody in two, whom they mistake as an interloper. Will he mistake me, on one of my evening walks, as a trespasser? If they're burglarized, those weapons will end up in the hands of subhuman gangbangers.

In the couple of times I've interacted with Clark County Sheriff's, they seemed to be proud of their role as protectors; if anything, they were overprotective. I do not understand the mentality that we cannot depend on law enforcement for protection.

The last time there was an emergency near my buddy's place, a Sheriff's deputy was there in less than two minutes.

My only beef with the Sheriff's is that they shine their light on me, as they pass by, on my night-time walks. I cannot fathom why they would do this, as I'm careful to stay on public property. It's very annoying.

I have serious moral compunctions about people taking the law into their own hands, because such actions violate the equal protection clause, which states that laws must apply equally to everyone. When people play policeman they deprive others of due process, another constitutional right.

As an aside, I consider our President to have shown disregard for our Constitution.

ILovetheConstitution

Mr. Larimer, thanks for the warning about following crowds, when it comes to important matters such as gun laws. Three-fourths of National Rifle Association members believe in universal background checks for all gun sales. We should not follow their misguided principles.

I would take your argument a step further. Let's lobby our government to abolish laws that are only obeyed by law-abiding citizens.

Laws against robbery, murder, assault, etc., have been around for more than a century. Countless robberies, murders, and assaults have been committed during that time.

Take the horrific home invasion robbery of an elderly man in Vancouver, a few weeks ago. Laws against assault didn't prevent him from allegedly being stabbed in the neck.

Let's abolish police, who often take several minutes to respond to life-and-death emergencies. They can't be everywhere, so what good are they?

Prosecuting attorneys are worthless. They have to obey a long list of Constitutional principles, such as the right of suspects to remain silent. This makes it much harder to lock people up.

Let's require all citizens to own high capacity, automatic weapons. That way, crooks will think twice about doing dastardly deeds. And, this would allow each citizen to decide for himself what constitutes a crime.

Mr. Larimer, I'm encouraged that we're like-minded.

Bob Larimer

Your sarcasm is duly noted. Of all the activities and topics you listed, only the Right to Own and Carry firearms is specifically guaranteed in the Constitution's Bill of Rights.

But while we are discussing which Freedoms we should snatch away from each other, how about you surrender your Freedom of Speech?

Or better yet, let me decide what words you can and cannot use.

No high-capacity word processors, phones or tablets for you.

It's for the common good of society, and I know what will be best for you.

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