Gun safety not opposing rights
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin recently sent a letter to Vice President Biden about President Obama’s gun safety proposals. In his letter Sheriff Hanlin requests that the administration “… not tamper with or attempt to amend” the Second Amendment of the Constitution. I would like to point out that there is nothing in the proposals that would in any way be counter to the Second Amendment.
The proposals do not infringe on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Instead, they attempt to address the complicated problem of gun violence with sensible regulations, ranging from strengthening background checks and increasing school security to banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.
This is not a Second Amendment issue, it is a common-sense issue. We have federal restrictions on gun ownership and use that have been in effect for many years and have not been found to be unconstitutional. Private ownership of machine guns has been illegal for nearly 80 years. We can’t own hand grenades or shoulder-launched missiles. We can’t take a gun onto an airplane. Surely we can exercise our right to own guns and at the same time discuss reasonable regulations that will keep us all safer and reduce the approximately 30,000 gun deaths each year in the U.S.
I hope Sheriff Hanlin will read through President Obama’s proposals carefully. He will find there is nothing in them that suggests people in this country do not have a right to own guns. As he said in his letter, he is responsible for the “peace and safety” of the citizens of Douglas County. We need his voice to contribute to the national dialogue about gun violence in a constructive way. Simply denouncing the President’s proposals as unconstitutional is not useful.