, Salem, MA


December 5, 2013

Letter: Columnist off-base on rights

To the editor:

Nelson Benton (”Intimidation and the First Amendment,” Nov. 29) seems to think that if you “value the right to possess a gun,” you are an “extremist,” and if you voice your opinion (in this case, the reaction to a Swampscott selectman’s question of how local police might be expected to enforce a state law requiring all firearms to be secured), that is an “absurd reaction.” He goes on to say however that the First Amendment “gives others the right to disagree.”

He’s correct that the mere mention of warrantless searches brought a “flood of invective from all over the country.” It’s those pesky Republicans and tea party “extremists” standing up for that Constitution again. It’s people that stand up for and defend the Constitution that allow him to give his opinion and print it.

Just because Mr. Benton doesn’t agree with the views of Republicans doesn’t make them extreme, “absurd” or “intimidation tactics.” Selectman Greenfield was not talking about the right to possess guns or the First Amendment. He was asking about the enforcement of a law and if police were able to inspect the storage of firearms in one’s home. Mr. Benton is quick to defend the First Amendment but seems to forget a few others. How convenient.

Michael Caggiano


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