Letters to the Editor

Too many weapons on the streets


In 2013, a 5 year-old boy in Kentucky received a single-shot rifle for his birthday. Soon after, he shot and killed his 2-year-old sister, Caroline Sparks. On June 17, nine people were shot and killed in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, during a prayer service. On Aug. 26, in Moneta, Va., reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot while filming live on air for WDBJ-TV. On Aug. 29, Officer Darren Goforth was ambushed, shot, and killed while fueling his patrol car at a gas station in Houston.

In his article in The Washington Post in July, CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria wrote that, according to some numbers, since 9/11, 74 people in the United States have been killed by terrorists. During that same time span, more than 150,000 have been killed in gun homicides.

How many people have to die before our government puts the American people above the NRA? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that we are past due for some serious reform concerning our gun laws. And before we start spouting the Second Amendment, have you ever even read it? Here it is: “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.”

The language that our founding fathers used when they penned the Second Amendment was formed during a somewhat fragile time in our history. We had just come through a war, and who knew when or if the British would try again. It had nothing to do with hunting or protecting yourself from street criminals. Thomas Jefferson put it this way: “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you can’t have a gun for the purposes of hunting, etc. But I do propose that there are simply too many guns on our streets and they are too easy to access. And what ordinary citizen really needs to have an automatic weapon? You can’t hunt with them.

We need to crack down on the amount of guns in our country. We also need to do a better job of getting help for persons who are having mental issues, but that won’t take care of everyone - the jealous husbands, the criminals, the guy who feels he was wrongly cut off on the highway. Guns are too easy too grab and use before you have a chance to cool down, and then it’s too late. Its time to get tough on guns, so everyone, gun owner or not, is safer.

The writer lives in Conway.