Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
As the gun control issue heats up, it astonishes me to see the number of unbelievably misinformed opinions. The first, and most egregious, is that this kind of legislation goes too far and wants to take your gun away. That is absolutely not true. Unless you’re a mentally unstable violent criminal hoarding weapons of war, your guns are probably safe.
The new laws, issued by an Executive Order of the President (more about that in a moment), do not limit the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns for protection, collection or for sport. What it does is limit access to high-powered military assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips. The average citizen has no need for weapons of war, just like the average citizen doesn’t need to drive through town in an M1 Abrams army tank. One of the weakest arguments is that citizens won’t be able to protect themselves against attackers. I guess that would be true, if we lived in the Middle East and your home was being invaded by 57 armed insurgents. But against the everyday pill head, you’re probably fine with an over-the-counter Walmart handgun.
There’s a ridiculous new commercial by the NRA that calls Obama a hypocrite because he has armed security, but (according to the NRA) he doesn’t think you should. First of all, the President of the United States is a much bigger target than most of us. Secondly, the Secret Service is issued a Sig Sauer P229 .357, and you can still legally buy comparable protection for yourself. The ad is intentionally misleading to make it seem like the President is taking away your guns and arming himself. False.
The new gun laws also try to enforce background checks, just to be sure the person buying a gun doesn’t have a criminal record or a mental instability that might make them dangerous with such a weapon. Guns are far more dangerous than cars, and we heavily regulate motor vehicles and who can, and cannot have a drivers license.
And speaking of that word “regulation,” let’s look at the Second Amendment that is being tossed around here. People like to remind us that we have the right to keep and bear arms, and we certainly do, but there’s a part before that they always forget to mention. It actually reads, “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.”
Yes, you have the right to keep and bear arms, but only within a “well regulated Militia.” These new laws aren’t designed to take away your rights. If they were, they would have been a lot deeper and gone after all guns and gun owners, legal or not. This is just a way to regulate them to take better steps to be sure the wrong people don’t get the guns. Meanwhile, law abiding citizens like you and I can still buy guns legally and qualify for a CCW at locally-owned shops like Lock Stock & Barrel and The Gun Shop, in New Boston.
And also yes, there are going to be people who slip through the cracks or buy guns illegally. It’s not a perfect system, and nobody with a brain thinks this will completely eliminate the gun problem in the United States. That’s naive. Criminals don’t follow laws. It’s in their job description. What these new measures do is just try to be more proactive and more careful who gets a gun.
What’s the worst that can happen to you, the law-abiding citizen? You have to wait an extra day to get a gun, or you can’t buy a weapon like the one they’re using in Afghanistan? Wow, how mildly inconvenient.
According to the FBI, in 2011 there were about 12,000 murders in the United States, and more than 8,000 of them were gun-related. I won’t even get into the number of other crimes involving the use of guns. Shouldn’t we at least try to make people safer and prevent another Sandy Hook? Another Aurora? If it reduces gun deaths, or crime in general, by even 10 percent, won’t that be worth it? If you say no, I dare you to say that to the face of someone who lost a loved one to gun violence.
These are common sense steps to keep people safer, signed into law by the issue of an Executive Order because the President likely knew he would never get it passed through Congress because the NRA spends a lot of money lobbying politicians and marketing a message of fear to people. I also love how people are attacking his use of Executive Order, as if it’s some dictator’s policy that only Obama has taken advantage of. In fact, according to the National Archives, with 144 to date, Obama has filed fewer Executive Orders than any President since 1933. Even one-term presidents like Bush 41, who signed 166. George W. Bush signed 291, Bill Clinton signed 364, and Ronald Reagan signed 381.
It’s a Presidential privilege that each of them have used throughout history.
I don’t want to take away your guns. I know that’s what you’ll glean from this piece anyway, despite every word in this column spelling out quite clearly the exact opposite statement, because most people made up their mind about me after the first sentence. So I’ll say it again. I do not want to take away your guns! But I do agree with legislation that tries to take guns away from dangerous and unstable people who aren’t capable of owning or using them safely and responsibly.
So what do you think of the new gun legislation? Let us know online at Portsmouth-DailyTimes.com and your comments may be featured in a future edition of the Daily Times.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.