The Norman Transcript

Columns

February 9, 2013

Americans aren’t trying to repeal rights

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Despite what you may be reading or hearing, Americans are not trying to repeal the Second Amendment. Americans revere the Constitution, and even the most anti-gun person knows that tampering with the Bill of Rights would lead to open season on the Constitution. Not a prospect anyone would relish.

Nevertheless, there is a major discussion going on in this nation about how best to handle the recurring problem of gun violence and particularly gun massacres. The Supreme Court has ruled over the years that the Second Amendment does allow individuals the right to bear arms for personal use and protection.

On the other hand, they have also ruled that that right can be subject to reasonable limitations. For instance, bans on machine guns and grenades, instituted back in the 1930s, have been upheld.

Similarly, we accept reasonable limitations on the right of free speech: It doesn’t give you the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire. Therefore, there is considerable room for intelligent discussion about what can be done, both legally and practically, to reduce the scourge of gun violence in the United States.

I wish Congressmen Cole would reconsider his stated opposition to President Obama’s comprehensive approach to the problem. Cole has been quoted as saying that he represents “tens of thousands of responsible gun owners” whose freedom he does not want to restrict.

I would like to remind Rep. Cole that those of us who do not own weapons are also taxpaying, law-abiding citizens, and you represent thousands of us as well. And, indeed, surveys show that nationwide, gun owners and non-owners alike support reasonable restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, while enforcing background checks of all those who wish to purchase firearms.

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