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Letter: Recent shootings no reason to restrict guns

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Dave Baldwin


Received: Feb. 8

I joined the NRA more than 20 years ago without ever having owned a gun or having fired a shot. I did so because I wanted to add my voice to those who resist the urge to deprive law-abiding citizens of liberty based on the evil choices made by individuals. I do not believe any society can remain free if it gives in to the temptation to restrict rights on a preemptive basis.

The debate spurred on by the Newtown massacre is about much more than guns, as the same preemptive reasoning can be, and in many countries is, used to strip individuals of the right to speak their minds, associate with whom they choose and worship God, to name just a few of the liberties we freely exercise.

It is understandable that the Newtown mass murder should bring forth so much raw emotion, but our society will be better served by contemplating the difficult issues it raises rather than demonizing law abiding NRA members. Many of these questions are sure to make us feel uneasy, as they point out the tension that exists in our desire to be both free and secure:

1. The Newtown killer’s mom was apparently a law abiding, affluent, single mom. Do we wish to live in a society that prohibits someone like her from being able to obtain a gun for self-defense purposes?

2. Americans currently own hundreds of millions of guns. Do we wish to have a government empowered to remove all of these guns from our society by whatever means necessary?

3. A number of people, including the killer’s mom, are reported to have considered him to be mentally disturbed. Do we want to live in a society where it is relatively easy to lock up someone we suspect, or allege, may be deranged?

4. The Newtown killer shot his mom in the head multiple times and destroyed his computer hard drive before driving in his mom’s car to the school where he shot his way in and executed children. Is it possible to write laws that can stop this type of individual?

5. I have read that the killer’s dad had virtually no contact with his son and that he found out about the massacre from a journalist. Do we have the courage to reflect on how personal moral choices made by the father, and us, may impact the lives of others?

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