To the editor:
Our Constitution provides the "right to keep and bear arms" in concert with a "well-regulated militia" and the necessity of security in a "free state."
My father taught me to shoot and responsibly handle firearms when I was 6 years old. The Boy Scouts and adult leadership reinforced his lessons. Before becoming a hunter I was required to take a Hunter Safety class. It was only after swearing a sacred oath to our Constitution and undergoing a physical exam and background checks that I was taught and allowed to use automatic and heavy weapons – to defend against our enemies and armed combatants, not to kill innocent civilians.
I earned my right to keep and bear arms.
The right to free speech is not absolute. It does not give the right to shout "fire" in a crowded movie theater. Before being allowed to drive a car we are required to pass a test and demonstrate our competence and ability to responsibly use this tool.
What did this 20-year-old punk or his mother do to earn this right? Or the deluded shooter in Clackamas County, Ore.? Or so many like them? What do gangsters in street gangs in every major city in America do to earn this right? Rather than providing security to a free state, their acts threaten our security.
I swore a sacred oath to protect our Constitution – to include the Second Amendment – and resent that some who claim to protect this right instead seem to protect the right of some to profit from the unfettered sale of guns and ammunition. No one should be allowed to profit that others are made to suffer.
There is no sane reason for anyone to have unfettered access to "cop killer" bullets that can penetrate the type of protective vests worn by law enforcement and other peace officers.
As an intelligence officer I further resent that some who claim to protect our right to bear arms but instead seem to protect the rights of some to profit from the unfettered sale have fought and advocated for legislation to prevent the U.S. government from even collecting data on violence using automatic weapons.
"Thomas Jefferson once claimed, "A democracy cannot be both ignorant and free." This was the commonly held attitude of the "enlightened" men who settled the United States. The framers of the Constitution believed that if the new U.S. citizens failed to take care to share information completely among themselves, they would be worse off than they had been as subjects of the British monarchy they fled.
The new American settlers brought with them a desire for democracy and openness. They left behind a history of tyranny and official control of information. Using this experience as their guide, the constitutional fathers wrote into their new Constitution a Bill of Rights…" (From Copley First Amendment Center).
Page 2 of 2 - It seems logical to assume the First Amendment is first for a reason. The Second exists to protect the first and all others, not to eclipse them.