Cumberland Times-News

March 5, 2013

It’s time to think the gun issue through


Cumberland Times-News

— I am a gun owner and have been around guns all my life.

The Second Amendment consists of only two phrases: “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.”

I draw your attention to the first phrase. The Constitution was written after the end of the Revolutionary War, aimed at correcting deficiencies in the Articles of Confederation brought to light by the war.

Reading all the 170 Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers written in favor and rebuttal, you’ll find that a great portion of the arguments centered around which form of government could best “...provide for the common defense” i.e: a strong central federal government with a standing army or a loosely bound republic with volunteer state militias.

The Second Amendment was to gain the support of the Anti-Federalists. Foreign invasion was on the public’s mind. England, France and Spain already claimed vast portions of what is now the Continental U.S. Potential invaders were already within our boundaries..

Fortunately, we no longer live in the 1700-1800s, and that threat no longer exists. I don’t believe having a weapon in my home capable of firing a large number of rounds without reloading will do much to deter an invading army after they have already defeated the U.S. military. Forget it!

Enough has already been said about needing high-capacity magazines for hunting, so I won’t belabor the point. I believe there is consensus they’re not needed for that purpose.

Concerned about home invasion? Think it through. First, I have to retrieve my weapon from a gun safe, wall rack or bedside drawer.

If I have children in the home, either full time or only occasionally, if I’m a conscientious gun owner, it will be unloaded. When I’m finally ready, I’ll be lucky to get off two to four shots before I’ve killed someone or my weapon is taken away from me and used on me.

I doubt I’ll have need to come charging out of the bedroom spraying the living room with 20-30 rounds without reloading.

Let’s look at sporting competitions: First, hand-held (as opposed to shoulder fired) assault weapons are notoriously inaccurate over any distances that might be used for marksmanship competition, and second, you won’t be expected to fire 20-30 rounds without reloading.

What about the human trait of just wanting to “possess” something? I personally have as long a wish list as the next person.

But, usually after a period of rational thought, reason steps in and I conclude that my life won’t be substantially altered if I do or don’t have the gun of my dreams.

Machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns and silencers have been banned since 1934. Are we better or worse off because of it?

After the gang wars of the Prohibition era, the days of shoot-em up bank robbers of the 1920-30s; I think we can all conclude that we’re better off. The same will be said of high-volume magazines. But it’s my right! Yes it is.

Physicists tell us that the arrow of time always points toward entropy. Our society is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. Our laws need to keep pace,

How many things can you do or not do now that they could or couldn’t do in the 1700s? Is our lot better now than theirs was then? Granted, our society has a lot of failures and pitfalls to be corrected, but this could be a start. It’s time to apply some rational thought to this matter.

Ron Personett

Romney, W.Va.