I was disturbed to read about gun-rights extremists packing a Durango town hall meeting and treating State Rep. Mike McLachlan with such disrespect (Herald, Feb. 24). Although, it did reveal what legislators are up against when trying to develop sensible gun-control policies.
Banning high-capacity magazines and requiring universal background checks are bare-minimum limitations that no reasonable person should have a problem with. It is depressing to see that gun-lobby money and a few gun enthusiasts’ stridency have scared every Republican legislator away from signing on to the measure.
McLachlan may have been shaken by gun advocates’ incivility, but he should take comfort in the fact that most of us support him. I believe the legislation didn’t go far enough. Citizens should not be allowed to own assault rifles any more than they should be allowed to own rocket launchers or hand grenades. Neither should citizens be allowed to walk around in public places carrying firearms, concealed or otherwise – with the exception of those carrying during legal hunting activities.
The argument that citizens should be allowed to own assault weapons and ammunition to protect against government tyranny falls in the realm of paranoid fantasy. It’s hard to believe that we frequently hear grown, and seemingly educated, men (and it is mostly men) making this argument in public.
Despite what many people now seem to believe, the Constitution does not grant citizens unlimited gun-ownership rights. For about 150 years, the prevailing interpretation of the Second Amendment was that the right was connected to the maintenance of a “well-regulated militia.” It is only in the last few years that the Supreme Court has altered its interpretation to have the amendment protect individuals’ rights to gun ownership. Even still, the court has indicated its support for many long-standing restrictions and prohibitions on gun ownership.
We shouldn’t be frightened away from passing sensible laws aimed at reducing gun violence. This won’t prevent all mass shootings and other gun violence, but it is bound to reduce them.
I stand in strong support of McLachlan on this issue.