We understand that there can be some necessary restrictions on rights when some people abuse them and are clearly unable to behave themselves. As you can’t call “fire” in a crowded theater, you can’t get a gun license if you are crazy. We can all have legitimate, intelligent conversations in these gray areas.
But incredibly, there are those who want the Second Amendment repealed! Fortunately, it takes years to amend the Constitution. Just in case someone wants to propose this, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to join the National Rifle Association, which is always defending my right to keep and bear arms.
I’m not enthusiastic about the NRA’s proposal to arm teachers, submitted in response to the slaughter of children in a Connecticut school. Those of us who defend constitutional rights should not act as if we are required to come up with alternate solutions to violating those rights. But once the basic premise is safe, anyone can try to be helpful with suggestions.
For many reasons, I would like to see much more attention paid to mental illness; never heard a taxpayer object to funding programs for the mentally ill, yet notice that these are often among the first services cut during state fiscal crisis. I’m often surprised by judicial decisions that release dangerous people into society. I think it makes sense to confirm the sanity of people who want to buy guns and ammunition.
But for the rest of us law-abiding citizens, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, or the freedom of all Americans inevitably shall be.
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a regular contributor to the opinion pages.