OPINION: The right to carry in an era of mass shootings

BY Nicholas Murtha | Guest Columnist | Colorado Springs and San Bernardino are the latest victims of terrorism. As in many cases like this, gun-control advocates started pushing their agenda while the scenes were still active.

In response to San Bernardino, Hillary Clinton tweeted, “I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now.” DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted, “Our thoughts are with the San Bernardino community. But that’s not enough. We need to do something about our gun violence problem.”

There was no waiting for the facts or even granting the courtesy of pause before politics.

According to news sources, the guns used in San Bernardino were purchased legally and neither person had criminal histories. This is significant because California is a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. So without dismantling the 2nd Amendment, what “reasonable” gun-control laws that are not already in place in California could have stopped an act like this?

Myself, formerly military police, have experienced first-hand weapons assisting in the defense of life. I also experienced this as a civilian when I came upon an assault in progress.

While walking home after dark through a park in Minneapolis and turning past some bushes, I came upon two males standing over and angrily shouting at an old man laying on the ground bleeding. The two men saw me and started to walk away. When I stopped to help the injured man, not fully aware of what happened, the two assailants turned their attention towards me, coming at me with raised arms and closed fists. Luckily I had a concealed handgun. Lifting my shirt, I showed the weapon and verbally warned that I would use it if they came closer. The two men fled the area and I was able to contact 911 for police and medical assistance.

A gun saved me from becoming a victim, assaulted or killed just for inadvertently walking into an unknown situation.

The problem with expanded gun-control legislation is the extreme measures often used to control who, how, when and where guns may be carried. We all know criminals don’t follow these rules.

If we implemented these same extreme rules with the other amendments of the Constitution, it would open them up to discrimination and abuse. We have to remember the 2nd Amendment states, “...the right of the people… shall not be infringed."

As I state in “The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, Our Right to be Armed” (accessible at nicholasjmurtha.com), I believe in background checks—using mental health and criminal history as disqualifiers to having guns. But like voting, these checks and permits must be available and free for all legal citizens, do not force citizens to pay for their right through various government fees and charges. We must not let limitations and abuses happen to any Amendment of the Constitution. Gun legislation can be smart while also being inclusive, fair and unrestricting for the lawful citizen.

It's time to talk about gun control- again

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