Parkland Press

Monday, June 1, 2020

Another View

Thursday, February 14, 2013 by JULIA SWAN in Opinion

Reasonable regulations don't encroach on rights

I must respectfully, but emphatically, disagree with my colleague, Deb Pal-mieri's editorial of Jan. 30, "Administration's encroachment on the Second Amendment is unacceptable."

Sadly, instead of recognizing the right to bear arms, like other rights guaranteed in our Constitution, is not absolute, Deb results to the "slippery slope" argument that other gun rights extremists are using, when she says, "First, assault weapons …and magazines holding more than 10 rounds will be banned. Then, semi-automatic pistols such as the Glock, will be banned."

And for her to support Rep. Metcalf's "nullification" bill is foolish. If states could go around nullifying any federal law they don't like, the result would be chaos, and the end of the United States as a unified country.

I have always likened things like assault weapons and clips with more than 10 rounds (which serve no purpose for the average private citizen) to the cannons of Colonial times.

I'm pretty sure when the Founding Fathers crafted the Second Amendment, they didn't think it meant every citizen was entitled to own his own cannon.

Even our current conservative Supreme Court, in the Heller decision which upheld an individual citizen's right to bear arms, explicitly said that some reasonable restrictions on the kind of arms, and what citizens could own them, are allowable.

Nothing in the modest proposals President Obama has put forth would take legitimate firearms away from law-abiding citizens. And I haven't heard him say anything indicating that once assault weapons and large clips are banned, he's going to go after other weapons.

Over the past two decades, mass slaughters have become almost commonplace in our society.

In Arizona, where Gabby Giffords was grievously injured and several people, including a 9-year-old girl, were killed, the mayhem certainly would have been less if the assassin hadn't been carrying a gun with a large clip.

The same holds true for the massacre in Connecticut.

Gun rights extremists say those intent on murder can just easily kill people with knives, rocks or baseball bats.

Well no, they can't. They could maybe kill one or two people, if those people were weak, and taken by surprise.

But they couldn't mow down dozens of people in a movie theater or shopping center or elementary school classroom with a rock or a knife.

Yet still, the extremists don't want any curbs on the rights of anyone, including domestic abusers, people on terrorist watch lists and the mentally unstable, to buy any kind of weapon they want with no restrictions whatsoever.

Wayne LaPierre, who 10 years ago said he favored universal background checks with no exceptions, now says background checks won't work because criminals won't submit to them.

That's like saying laws against murder won't work because some bad people would still commit murder.

Obviously there is no panacea that will miraculously end the killing overnight. Obviously more needs to be done to shore up our mental health system.

But stricter background checks and limits on assault weapons and clips that can fire 20 or 30 rounds of bullets in moments are not unreasonable.

Many years ago a Supreme Court judge said the right to free speech does not permit someone to yell "fire" in a crowded theater.

Neither should the right to bear arms mean everyone and everyone can go around armed to the teeth with weapons whose only purpose is to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time.

Julia Swan

editorial assistant

Bethlehem Press