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Balancing gun rights and public safety

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Aug 17th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

The first letter that my husband and I received from the NRA arrived in 1965, forty-seven years ago. Included was a picture of some desperate, scrawny individuals peering out through the bars of a dirty jail in a foreign country. The message was,“This can happen to you. You are in danger! The government will take away your guns. Be afraid, be very afraid!”

The Second Amendment was written in 1791. “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. We had just fought a war for Independence, carried out by State Militias made up of farmers and tradesmen who brought their own guns to the fray. At this time we relied on State Militias to protect our country from invading armies. The law was written to ensure our National security. It did not suggest that we needed to fear our own government, nor did it mention hunting.

After the war of 1812, it became clear that we needed a unified force, an Army and Navy under the auspices of the Federal government to protect our National interests. Today we have the most powerful Military in the world and a police force to enforce local laws. In the literal sense, the reason for “keeping and bearing arms” no longer exists. This law needs to be re-examined in the light of our present reality. Hunting laws are firmly established and regulated by the States. The only time Federal law can take precedence over State law is in matters of National Security .

The NRA has perpetuated the myth over the years, “The government will take your guns, be afraid! This has no more substance than a shadow that disappears when the sun goes down. The government is not made up of aliens from outer space. We are the government. The government is us! We are in no danger of losing our right “to keep and bear arms.”

The Leadership of the NRA wants us to believe that they exist to protect our “second amendment rights.” They invite you to become a member of their organization and contribute money toward this noble fight to ensure our freedom and independence. Actually they use the money to pay lobbyists, to donate to political campaigns and to feed propaganda to the media. Their lawyers write our gun laws. There is a picture of Governor Jeb Bush signing “Stand your ground” into law. By his side is a member of the NRA. President Bush said he would support the ban on assault weapons. Some how in 2004, when the time came to re-instate the ban, the time quietly slipped by with no signature. President Bush was rewarded by a campaign donation by friends of the NRA.

Our country has been traumatized by assassinations, President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Reverend King and a growing number of mass murders. The NRA laments, “It’s a dangerous world. We should rush out and buy more guns to protect ourselves!”

President Obama is for a ban on assault weapons, but he needs our support and congress behind him to make it happen. Freedom is not just fought on the battlefield. We fight for freedom every day in the choices we make in our minds and in our hearts.

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