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Monday, March 18, 2013
According to Lance Hunt, “the government cannot give rights; it can only take them away (“Gun ownership is an inborn right,” March 12 letter.)
He is dead wrong. Another government hater, I presume.
First, the Constitution itself in the 10th Amendment gives our government the power (right) to delegate laws.
Second, the government is us. And we the people have given it the right to govern us by providing it the means to pay for highways, schools, protection, etc., from which we all benefit.
But in a civilized society, rights come with caveats. We do not have the right to ignore our laws, and when certain practices infringe on our safety, or even our sense of it, those laws are needed to provide order.
If you feel more secure in your home having a gun, it is your right to have one. On the other hand, people who walk around with guns are threatening to the rest of us. How do we know you haven’t just lost your home, your job or your woman and are ready to take your pain out on someone who just squeezed you out of a parking space?
As we have seen during the past decade, guns were too accessible to mentally unstable young men. However, too many killings and suicides are also committed by a neighbor or co-worker who was considered to be “just a regular guy.”
There is also a small segment of the population to whom owning guns is more than a hobby; it’s a passion. Most of these people are harmless. But not when they become hostile to their own government and spread their pessimistic paranoia to disgruntled people who don’t consider what is for the greater good of their country, but only what feels good to themselves.
There seem to be only two words in the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution that gun rights advocates focus on — rights and freedom — without considering them in the context of the whole.
In the First Amendment, we are given freedom to practice the religion of our choice, but not freedom to force it on others. This, by the way, is the only place in the Bill of Rights where the word “freedom” is used.
And freedoms come with warnings. The Fourth Amendment gives law enforcement the right to search and seize our possessions if it has “probable cause.”
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