Summer's End. Lexington Green, 11 September 20...

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I want to start by making one thing clear.  I am a Democrat and I support the Second Amendment.  I don’t have any interest in, and I would support & recommend voting against any politician who attempted to eliminate the rights of American gun owners.  I am however, very much in favor of additional laws that ensure the safety of the population while owning firearms.

We have a responsibility to the entirety of the population to ensure that there are laws in place that both protect the Second Amendment, but also the rights and safety of Americans who choose not to exercise the right to own a gun.  Permits, functional & reliable background check procedures, gun safety courses and intelligent limitations are absolutely essential.

American citizens who have committed violent crimes or have been diagnosed with a potentially dangerous mental condition are the only individuals who should be prevented from owning a gun.  This is a necessary and responsible limitation on the Second Amendment.  Several states have passed “open carry” laws.  Several other states are debating the idea.  In most cases, these laws are the pinnacle of irresponsibility.

Allowing someone to carry a loaded gun in public without a permit and without having had proper safety and operation courses is unacceptable.  If the increase in “lone-wolf” attacks since 2008, including the unfortunate incident in Arizona, do not clearly outline the need for enforcing existing laws as efficiently and effectively as possible then you are not paying attention.  We need not create a host of new laws, we just need to properly enforce the ones that are in place.

Banning assault weapons is not the answer.  If a law abiding American wants to own a semi-automatic rifle, no law should prevent that.  I couldn’t even support an additional law that bans or limits the sale of extended magazines.  While I see no meaningful purpose for assault rifles or extended clips, I can’t see that it is my place to intrude on another American’s right to own them provided they follow the laws.  We need to recognize that it is not the guns that commit the crimes, but the people that use them.

Which, of course, naturally circles back to my insistence of enforcing existing gun ownership laws.  Knee-jerk reactions don’t help anybody.  While I doubt many people in this country are in the type of danger that would necessitate carrying a loaded gun everywhere they go, it is not my place or my right to prevent or restrict someone who is responsible and stable from exercising their Constitutional right.  However, I do feel it is a requirement that every American, gun owner or otherwise, ensure that we are being responsible in our actions.

We need to remember that our individual rights end where another’s begin.  My rights do not trump my neighbor’s so long as they follow responsible and safe gun ownership practices and do not use their weapons to break the law.

– “Left of Center”


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