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LETTER TO THE EDITOR:There is ignorance all around - Odessa American: Letters To Editor

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR:There is ignorance all around

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Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2019 6:30 am

Once again, Sandy Milner attacks any and all who don’t see the world as he does. His defense of gun rights on the day following the horrendous tragedy of Saturday is ironic. Moreover, as he attacks Democrats for being “ignorant concerning the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, he displays his own ignorance of those documents.

For example, in the very first paragraph of his letter he states, “The Constitution says plainly that we are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Wrong. Those words are from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Important words that I cherish, but not a part of the Constitution he seems to imply he knows more about than any Democrat.

His next claim states that the Second Amendment plainly states that we have “the right to keep and bear arms, without that right being infringed upon.” Wrong. The actual wording of the Second Amendment states, “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.” The prefatory clause has been seen by many, including the courts up until the Heller decision in 2008, to show an intent of the framers that the right was meant to ensure that state militias would not be hindered in their duty to defend the states from attacks. Heller was the first decision to state that if was unequivocally about the individual’s rights to own a gun. Even so, Justice Alito, writing for the majority in the 5-4 decision, made clear that it did not preclude the right of the government to limit the sale and possession of certain kinds of weapons like machine guns and assault style weapons.

But my biggest argument with Mr. Milner concerns his contention that without the second amendment our nation would be destined to become a dictatorship, implying that the only reason that has not occurred is because of the Second Amendment. Since no other nation in the free world allows such access to weapons as the U. S., then most, if not all, should already be dictatorships. That begs the question, are Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, etc. dictatorships? Of course not. I don’t actually advocate necessarily for laws as restrictive as in some of these countries; I only wish to point out the fallacious reasoning he employs in his argument.

He also claims that the majority of our population own guns. Wrong. A Pew Research Center survey, conducted in March and April 2017, found 30% of Americans surveyed claimed they personally owned a gun, while an additional 11% said they lived with someone who owned a gun. Forty-one percent is not a majority. So, again, I am not advocating that we should ban all guns, or repeal the 2nd Amendment, but I think that when people make wild claims without any basis in facts, they should be called to account. I recognize also, that there is plenty of room for debate on this and any other issue.

It is far past time that this nation institute a ban on assault style weapons, large magazine clips, and put universal background checks in place. These measures have overwhelming support among the public. Public Policy Polling found 83% of gun owners support expanded background checks including 72% of NRA members. So why no action? Because the NRA does not represent their average members. They are wholly subordinate to the arms manufacturing industry. Likewise, a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found 70% of all voters would back a ban on assault style weapons, while only 23% oppose such a ban.

As our city reels in the aftermath of the heinous crimes this weekend, I believe anyone questioning the need for stricter laws should ask themselves: What is my greater priority, the right to own such lethal weapons, or the lives of innocent victims to live, and to live without fear.

Odessa, TX

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