, Salem, MA

April 18, 2013

Letter: Gun controls limit rights of law-abiding citizens

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

On April 9, in his latest of a long series of anti-gun rants, Brian Watson stated, “We are a free society, and we are a democracy. A free society — a society of autonomous individuals — needs sane gun laws, and a democracy requires a government — Congress — that responds when both majority opinion and thoughtful, just policy align.”

Perhaps Mr. Watson should do a bit of research before spreading misinformation. We are in fact a constitutional republic. A nation of laws, created to protect all people from the tyranny of the majority that can occur in a true democracy. We are not a democracy, where a majority could vote to make a whole group of Americans into second-class citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights prevents that. Hence the constitutional court rulings that prevent the government from banning gay marriage. And private gun ownership.

Mr. Watson continues his campaign to disarm, restrict and inconvenience law-abiding American citizens under the ruse of preventing felons and mentally unstable individuals from obtaining guns. Felons will always find a way to get guns, despite laws, which they tend to ignore anyway, or they wouldn’t be felons. And good luck getting the liberals to allow you access to patients’ mental (medical) records.

He stated, “And importantly, universal background checks do not in any way infringe on Second Amendment gun ownership rights. No mentally stable, law-abiding person has been, or will be, kept from owning a gun — or many guns — by background checks.” And further, “And again, no Second Amendment rights whatsoever are compromised by magazine restrictions.”

Really? If you really believe that, or that a rogue government would not someday deem outspoken individuals as “unstable,” you are misinformed and very naive.

I would, however, agree with Mr. Watson that background checks and capacity limits may serve a useful purpose. Perhaps we should apply them to the First Amendment, as well. Anyone wishing to write an editorial, article or letter to the editor must first pass a background check by the FBI to ensure that they are of sound moral character, not a felon or mentally unstable. (Would have kept Thomas Paine and John Hancock quiet in 1775.) Or perhaps we should extend the background checks to blogs, emails and even private correspondence, as well. Make it real easy for the government to weed out the malcontents and dissidents. And then let’s apply a 10-word limit to any written correspondence. That way, we can ensure that no one can spread more free thought than the government can tolerate or control. Then there’s verbal discourse we can limit next.

Then let’s apply those same controls to religion: No one can go to church or pray without the approval of the FBI. And then only 10 times a year.

So let’s all slide down this slippery slope like lemmings, and let the government strip away our liberties one by one. We’re on a roll here, boys; why stop now? Let’s keep passing more “feel-good” legislation that solves no problems, but only limits the rights of law-abiding citizens and increases government control over our lives.

Wake up, Mr. Watson.

David P. McKenna