• Jim Simpson

I Support the Second Amendment

My opponent, Dutch Ruppersberger, supports requiring a background check for ammunition purchases, once again imposing additional burdens on both dealers and law-abiding citizens while making no impact on criminals. He also favors universal background checks, banning bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic firearms the perennially ignorant Left calls "assault" weapons. All of this advocated under the banner of "gun safety." What they should really call it is "criminal safety."

I support the Second Amendment. The U.S. Constitution was a unique document in the annals of history, created to defend and guarantee the rights we have as individuals. The Second Amendment is key in recognizing the right we have to defend ourselves, our families and our property, both from persons intending harm and from tyrannical government.

I support open carry and concealed carry. The Second Amendment actually guarantees that. State laws that allow it are merely recognizing a preexisting right. Those that don't are violating the Constitution.

Legal gun owners do not commit crimes. For example, the gun ban crowd's nightmare, automatic weapons, are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA). Since its passage in 1934, not a single legally owned fully automatic firearm has been involved in a crime, and the constitutionality of the NFA has been called into question by repeated court rulings. I support, at the very least, the removal of silencers from the National Firearms Act registry, an arduous burden for a doubtful cause. Silencers were initially created to save our eardrums, restrict the noise nuisance to those living near gun rages and provide suppressed weaponry for the military.

Most of the gun laws enacted under the banner of "gun safety," including the 1968 Gun Control Act (GCA), have actually been gradual efforts to ban guns. Those who promoted these laws have said so, though the press rarely acknowledges the fact. Meanwhile, they bill themselves as Don Quixotes, tilting against the windmill of the big, bad old NRA. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I would support repeal of the GCA, which started us on the road to gun confiscation. As with most aspects of gun ownership, illegal use ignores current law, so the law only serves to restrict legal owners. Those who use guns in crime, of whatever sort, would still be breaking the law, and no law on the books today or envisioned for the future would prevent them from continuing to do so. But penalties for illegal use do provide consequences. Punish the crime, not the tool.

Law abiding citizens should not have to fear the law. This is the position we find ourselves in today, however, as government at all levels increasingly encroaches on our rights. Dutch Ruppersberger and most of his Democrat allies would gladly trade our rights for good press and more control over our lives, regardless the danger it places us in.

A good example in Maryland is the new ordinance passed by the Baltimore County Council. All firearms dealers in the county must now construct barriers at their storefronts strong enough to stop a speeding car from crashing through so perpetrators can run in and steal guns. This huge new cost will drive most, if not all, firearms dealers out of the county. Like so many other "safety" regulations, the true purpose here is to obstruct the trade in firearms. Another "death by a thousand cuts" effort of the anti-gun crowd to strip us of our constitutional rights.

Most of the horrific mass shootings, as at Parkland, Newtown, Aurora and elsewhere, all occurred in "gun free" zones -- which are only "gun free" to law-abiding citizens. Those intent on murder are aided by such insane policies. A citizen with a gun has stopped mass shootings many times, though this is rarely reported in the press.

Furthermore, while the anti-Second Amendment Left cynically seizes upon any opportunity to ban guns, tripping over the bodies of the victims to get to us, public officials jump on the anti-gun bandwagon to deflect criticism from themselves.

In the Parkland case, for example, local Sheriff Scott Israel had long been an outspoken advocate for gun control, saying one year earlier: "How many more innocent lives must perish before our legislators pass meaningful and common sense gun legislation? How many more tragic attacks like those at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Sandy Hook Elementary and the Pulse nightclub need to occur before rational thought prevails?”

Yet his and other liberal policies contributed to the deaths at Stoneman Douglas high school. His office had received some 45 calls about Cruz in the preceding years, including a 911 call in 2016 following an Instagram post by Cruz expressing a desire to shoot up the school. There were many other statements and warnings like that, which only came to light after the shooting. They were ignored, not merely out of negligence, but also as the result of an official policy adopted during the Obama administration that discouraged any kind of disciplinary action against troublesome students.

Once the shooting started, the officers charged with "public safety" refused to enter the school to confront the threat. Since Columbine, standing orders for police are to immediately seek out the threat. Under guidelines set by Sheriff Israel, taking action was at the deputies' discretion. Deputies chose to stay outside during the entire event and even blocked paramedics from entering to help the wounded.

This was perhaps the most egregious example, but in virtually every instance, the blame is shifted to the gun, when in fact the problem is with our policies, like the inane "gun free zones" and restrictive ownership and carry laws, but more importantly, our culture, which has been corrupted in so many ways. It is a culture that imposes little discipline on students, and refuses to make difficult disciplinary decisions when necessary. It is a culture that penalizes victims over criminals and encourages an attitude of self-centered entitlement over the most trivial complaints. It is a culture that recognizes no moral constraints on behavior. Such a culture encourages the most unstable among us to air their grievances -- real or imagined -- violently.

Conversely, a culture that allows and encourages responsible gun use -- as ours did for two centuries -- creates a safe environment. Prior to enactment of the 1968 Gun Control Act, youths could order guns through the mail. Target shooting and hunting was encouraged. The crime rate was much lower and mass shootings were almost unheard of. Clearly, guns are not the problem.

Guns save lives. Many studies show that firearms are successfully used defensively more frequently than offensively, and in locations where gun laws are liberalized so people can easily defend themselves, crime plummets. And why not? Criminals don't want to face the barrel of a gun any more than the rest of us. But all of these facts merely buttress our right already codified in the Second Amendment: "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." We need no other justification.

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Lutherville, Maryland 21093

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