Bill of Rights is bulwark against incursions, usurpations

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To the editor:

Everyone deeply appreciates Dr. Carmen Bonanni's service and dedication to our children's education and well-being. His thoughtful letter last week was no exception. But we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. After the tragic mass murders in Newtown, people naturally look at guns as the enemy and cause of such mayhem.

However, 40 years ago, the character Pogo in the comic strip of the same name noted, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Not everyone buys into the NRA mantra that guns don't kill people; people kill people. Since 9/11, the Bill of Rights has been under siege with frequent calls to abridge these fundamental rights that our founding fathers fought long and hard to secure.

During the red scare of the 1950s and 1960s, college students, as a class project, would go out to the public and read aloud the Bill of Rights. Many Americans were appalled by these revolutionary rights and thought them to be communistic and radical in origin. Yes, the founding fathers were true revolutionaries willing to fight and die for these principles.

Even old Dr. Ben Franklin asserted: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." The pacifist Gandhi insisted: "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."

Lincoln at Gettysburg prayed for "a new birth of freedom and that a government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth."

Government in its never-ending quest for power and control can go seriously out of whack. The Boston Massacre of 1770 and the KentState shootings of 1970 are painful reminders. The Bill of Rights is our bulwark against such incursions and usurpations. America's second revolution was the Whiskey Rebellion. This armed insurrection had to be put down by George Washington himself.

Gun restrictions are already on the books banning Tommy guns, sawed-off shotguns, etc., and the assault weapons ban will most likely be reinstituted. These are not viewed as major infringements of Second Amendment rights.

Outlawing ammunition will only set off a wave of opposition by those who lawfully own firearms. If we eliminate lawful ownership of guns, then only the criminal element will possess them. The Second Amendment should continue to ensure and protect our freedom and liberty. 

John Sewell


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