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Letter: Right to carry gun comes with responsibility

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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: Kevin Meyer


I was driving with the arrows in a parking lot when someone turned into the far end of the aisle and proceeded toward me. Since we were very close as we passed and our windows were down, I used my normal voice to point out that he was traveling the wrong way. I received the queen mother of vulgarities in response.

After parking, I asked him why a person who accommodated his disregard for normal safety practices deserved such treatment. I received a repeat performance with “the only difference between me and you is that I have a gun” added for clarity. I walked away.

Now that so many miscreants are emboldened by their rights to carry guns, it is time to join the ranks of the silent abused. Imagine if I increased my rhetoric to the point where the bully felt threatened and revealed himself for the coward he is.

The United States Constitution has been in force for over 200 years, and we have been fighting for and about the rights enumerated therein since the beginning. Unfortunately, the document that defines us is a list of rights without a corresponding list of responsibilities, and over the generations we have grown long on exercising the former while often doing our best to avoid the latter.

Our Constitution is due for some updates.

Such words enrage those who defend the status quo. In the 1800s they wanted to keep their slaves. In the 1900s they didn’t want women to vote. Now they want to carry guns in public places to assuage their cowardice or, worse, to have their chance to be judge, jury and executioner. Ironically, they often cast themselves as patriots and Christians, claim backing from the Founding Fathers and the almighty, and then threaten to tear the country apart and shoot us dead if we challenge their morally indefensible position. To them I offer the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and constitutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

It is time for the majority of reasonable and responsible Americans (including most gun owners and most gun control advocates) to take the gun control debate, and everything else, away from extremists and special interests.

I suggest that will best be accomplished if we focus first on emphasizing responsibility and civility in our Constitution. Imagine what we will accomplish in the next 200 years if we wake up each day intending to protect our neighbor’s rights as much as we intend to exercise our own.

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