To the editor,
Fran Brelsford’s Feb. 28 column, “Gun-control legislation is a diversion from real problems facing nation,” offered the same shopworn National Rifle Association (NRA) talking points that we’ve been hearing for a long time. That said, it’s still worth considering a few of her points.
There are those who insist that the original intent of the Second Amendment would allow ordinary citizens to wield firepower equal to or exceeding the power of local police or the federal government and that we must adhere scrupulously to that original intent. I would remind them that we have reconsidered, debated and, in some cases, rewritten essential provisions of the Constitution throughout our history. No original amendment addressed the buying and selling of humans into slavery. Nor did any original amendment address the fact that the female half of the population had no voting rights.
Over time we addressed those injustices. It is entirely reasonable to debate the Second Amendment language of the musket era and its application in the context of modern weaponry. The U.S. Army requires basic training to operate and handle assault weapons. If an individual wants to wield military weapons, he or she can join the army. You’ll get good training and probably a psychological evaluation to see if you’re fit. I have to show my license and present a signature to purchase Sudafed. I don’t see mass demonstrations against this as a constraint of commerce.
The NRA has long maintained that guns don’t kill people–people do. Yes, that’s true. And we can elaborate on that: crazy people who acquire military-grade weapons and lots of bullets kill lots of people quickly. Ms. Berlsford doesn’t concede that reasonable people may support public policy measures to address gun massacres like Newtown or Aurora. To her, the motivations are far more sinister: “politicians don’t like the Second Amendment and really wish to chip away little by little any rights we have to be free.”
Aha! Now we see what’s really going on. Those political figures who would suggest that a movement toward gun sanity is overdue simply hate freedom. This is so sad in its ignorance of our history and so damaging to the spirit of open-mindedness and compromise required in public discourse that she should consider another line of work.
Ms. Berlesford spent some ink doing the bidding of the gun industry’s lucrative fear machine. In her last sentence she offered the following threat to those who would, as she imagines, rewrite the 2nd Amendment: “Go ahead, make the change, I dare you.” She has gone out of her way to demonstrate how the NRA has lost any grip it ever had on reason or intelligence.
To the editor,