LETTER: Gun proponents present dubious defenses for Second Amendment

Jan. 09, 2013 @ 08:24 AM

To the Editor:

Reading from left to right on the Sunday editorialpages, Kirk Smith and Walter Williams present some interesting but dubious defenses for the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

I’m puzzled about how Smith segues from a Second Amendment right to bear arms to “our God-given right” to own guns. Huh? The Bible tells us we have a duty to protect our family and our possessions from intruders. It’s a stretch from that to ownership and use of the kind of military weapons designed specifically to kill human beings efficiently.

Walter Williams goes a step further to interpret the Second Amendment as the founding fathers’ insurance that an armed citizenry can protect itself against a tyrannical government. Huh? I am not a Constitutional scholar, but I don’t think the tattered and misunderstood amendment was designed to enable sedition.

I have lived a long time. I have never encountered a situation in which use of a gun was the best solution to the problem at hand. Those of you who have a different experience have the right to own a weapon appropriate to your perceived needs. I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation for why anyone who is not in the military or the police has any need to own an assault rifle. A thoughtful and serious gun owner recently explained to me why he owned weapons, and he had a justifiable reason for every gun he owned — security, hunting, etc. — except his AK 15. He explained to me that he needs that weapon to kill coyotes. Huh?

Civilized nations control gun ownership, and many have a very low incidence of gun violence. Any pretensions we have to civilization are drenched in the blood of the 10,000 Americans who die every year as a result of being shot by another human being firing a gun. I would remind Kirk Smith that we have a God-given duty to “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” not “shoot thy neighbor.”

Irene Smith