Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 2, 2013

Armed, law-abiding citizens often stop crimes

I need to respond to the poorly written submission by Ray Short of LaVale, published Dec. 28 (“Gun-carrying guards not the answer to making schools safe”).

I checked his facts and I give the 36-year teacher an “F” for research on his essay.

Mr. Short refers to the Second Amendment early in his essay, but omitted the phrases, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

He instead attributes the right of people to defend themselves and property to the Supreme Court who “changed the definition.”

If Mr. Short would have done his homework, he would have found many references from Madison, Jefferson, and Ben Franklin citing the right the people to own and carry the weapons of war to defend their person and to hold the government accountable.

In Mr. Short’s required reading, which this essay suggests he did not do, these men fought a revolution against tyranny. The Second Amendment is not about hunting. It is about defending yourself, your property and your rights against villains, including the government.

Mr. Short then attempts to say one armed guard will not stop an intruder. He did cite Columbine as an example, but his research was shallow.

There have been many shootings cut short by one armed citizen, including Pearl High School in 1997, when a principal retrieved his weapon from his car and stopped a shooting. In fact, law-abiding citizens stop over two million crimes per year, and in 95 percent of those do not need to fire the gun.

Then Mr. Short gives us his call to action. First, he calls for a ban on assault weapons, but fails to define what an “assault weapon” actually is.

By military definition, an assault weapon is capable of firing fully automatic (can fire many bullets with one trigger pull). These weapons were banned over 90 years ago and are rarely used in crime.

Semiautomatic weapons (one bullet for each pull of the trigger) mislabeled assault weapons would include nearly all pistols and many rifles and shotguns used for sport, hunting and plinking.

He also calls for closing the gun show loophole. This loophole exists only in legend. Licensed gun dealers at guns shows perform the same background checks required by law for all sales.

The only “loophole” is a private owner selling his property to another private person. Most states require sellers maintain a record of that transaction for many years.

In all, Mr. Short failed to research his topic resulting in a number of errors. If my child were in his class, I would ask for a conference to determine if this is how he teaches as well.

Mr. Short’s misinformation is an example of how democracy fails. If the citizenry fails to stay informed, the republic is doomed.

David Poland

Keyser, W.Va.

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