Meadville Tribune

Opinion

February 4, 2013

Rush for guns, ammo is a demonstration of free speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Following the hysteria generated by gun prohibitionists in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, a nationwide rush on gun stores began as citizens bought semiautomatic modern sporting rifles, handguns and ammunition, in effect “making a political statement” about proposals to ban such firearms.

Making political statements is what the First Amendment is all about.

The so-called “assault rifle” has become a symbol of freedom and the right of the people to speak out for the entire Bill of Rights. Banning such firearms, which are in common use today, can no longer be viewed exclusively as an infringement on the Second Amendment, but must also be considered an attack on the First Amendment.

Many people now feel that owning a so-called “assault rifle” without fear of government confiscation defines what it means to be an American citizen. Their backlash against knee-jerk extremism is a natural reaction to overreaching government.

 What should one expect in response to this heightened rhetoric and legislative hysteria? Citizens in other countries react differently to government intrusion into their lives, but Americans are uniquely independent. Among firearms owners, talk of gun bans and attempts to limit one’s ability to defend himself or herself against multiple attackers by limiting the number of rounds they can have in a pistol or rifle magazine turns gun owners into political activists.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) did not intend her gun ban proposal to cause skyrocketing sales of semiautomatic rifles and pistols, but that’s what happened. She must live with the consequences of her shameless political exploitation of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

 President Barack Obama never envisioned the rush to purchase rifle and pistol magazines, but telling American citizens they shouldn’t have something is like sending a signal they need to acquire those things immediately.

 Vice President Joe Biden never imagined his efforts would result in a tidal wave of new members and contributions to gun rights organizations, making the firearms community stronger and more united in opposition to any assault on the Second Amendment.

 Freedom of association is also protected by the First Amendment.

 Perhaps they should take a day off and visit the monuments at Lexington and Concord, and reflect on what prompted those colonists to stand their ground. It was the first time in American history that the government moved to seize arms and ammunition from its citizens, and it went rather badly for the British.

 Beneath the surface many Americans are convinced that we may be approaching a point when the true purpose of the Second Amendment is realized. Underscoring this is a new Pew Research Center poll that, for the first time, shows a majority (53 percent) of Americans believe the government is a threat to their rights and freedoms.

 Exacerbating the situation is a perceived indifference from the administration toward the rights of firearms owners who have committed no crime, but are being penalized for the acts of a few crazy people.

 It is time to lower the rhetoric and allow cooler heads to prevail. The demonization of millions of loyal, law-abiding Americans and the firearms they legally own must cease. If we are to have a rational dialogue about firearms and violent crime, we must recognize that the very people who could be most affected have a First Amendment right to be heard.

 Recall the words of Abraham Lincoln, who cautioned us more than 150 years ago that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” A half-century before him, Benjamin Franklin taught us that “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

 Their spirits are calling to us now.

Gottlieb is founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Public pensions for private lobbyists under fire

    Employees of the Pennsylvania School Board Association don’t work for any of the state’s 500 local school districts — not directly, anyway. They lobby lawmakers on behalf of those districts for things like funding.

    April 20, 2014

  • Many veterans suffer PTSD, which needs to be dealt with

    Initially, I intended this article to be about PTSD “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” I wanted to write about the myths and misconceptions that those four words may hold. But as the days went by, the story just wouldn’t come together for me. Everything I typed seemed to miss something. There was no feeling.

    April 17, 2014

  • Journalists in combat zones ‘write with light’ while risking their lives

    I first heard the news on National Public Radio on my car radio. On April 4, the day before elections in Afghanistan, an Afghan military officer walked up to a car in a convoy and opened fire. Anja Niedringhaus, a staff photographer for The Associated Press, died instantly.

    April 16, 2014

  • There’s no war on men and boys — it’s quite the opposite

    Two weeks ago, Paul Dici submitted an column titled “It’s time to fight against the war on men and boys” (March 28). Mr. Dici would have us believe that men and boys are being “wussified” by a progressive agenda that may jeopardize our national security. Also, he makes the point that men and boys are not given the same advantages (programs) as women and girls.

    April 14, 2014

  • McCord outsourcing ‘scandal’ reminds me of Y2K fears

    With only seven weeks to go until the May primary election, the campaigns are expected to get a lot hotter and more negative.

    April 13, 2014

  • Can we trust luck when it comes to the nuclear industry?

    Let’s review the history to better understand a major concern of today.

    April 11, 2014

  • Aging — is it a disease to be cured?

    If you are already old, get ready for what comes next. If you are not old yet but on the way, it is not too early to start thinking about aging and dying, because both are part of being human.

    April 10, 2014

  • Local high school students help keep future of journalism bright

    Significant technological and economic changes have caused some to question the future of journalism, both as a viable business enterprise and as a potential career. But if the proceedings of the eighth annual Northwest Pennsylvania High School Journalism Day are any indication, journalism is alive and well, especially in Crawford County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Reps want to hang ‘English only’ sign at the Capitol

    Pennsylvania, it turns out, is one of 19 states that have failed to address the menace that is non-English. Or maybe it’s un-English? Or dis-English? There must be a word for it.

    April 8, 2014

  • The Arc: A welcoming community of support

    Let me give you some background about services that The Arc of Crawford, Warren and Forest counties provide to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These individuals are your neighbors, loved ones and family members.

    April 7, 2014 1 Story

Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks