A Letter on Guns

By Bruce Lightner brucelig@bellsouth.net

News & Observer Publishing Company
215 South McDowell Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

Dear Mr. Snow:

I have read, with pleasure, your columns since 1988 and can't recall you speaking out on a social issue so ardently as in your column today on guns and the NRA.  Very well done.  I too am guilty of staying quiet on such a dangerous and highly distorted emotional issue.

Assuredly, something fundamental needs to occur to help shift the balance of "common sense" power back to the citizenry instead of continuing to allow the NRA to ride herd over our governmental representatives.  Please allow me to utilize you as a "sounding board" in this regard.

Since the NRA is such a feared political lobby, primarily because it's members and gun manufactures pour so much money into Congressional coffers, I am of the opinion that the most immediate and effective way to neutralize them is to "fight fire with fire" so to speak.  A two prone strategy will need to be employed, and soon.

By the above, I infer what is needed is a National, well organized, citizens financed lobby against the proliferation of hand guns and to assure that common sense safety measures (such as mandatory trigger locks) become Federal and State law.  With tragic gun related deaths occurring almost daily, I am of the humble opinion that most decent, law abiding folks would be interested in forming a new organization, or better yet, strengthening an existing one, to go after the NRA in a big way.  A significant reality needs to be stressed.  On top of the "high profile" tragedies which break our hearts, each day, each and every day, hundreds of other deaths and injuries occur in our Nation as a direct result of unregulated hand guns.  For the most part, these incidents do not get much media attention outside of local reporting.  Point being here is that the problem is much more pervasive than is acknowledged.

As I see it, to rid America from the curse of being "The Most Violent Nation On Earth", what will be required, I'm afraid is a Constitutional Convention.  Here is my logic:

When the Framers penned the Articles of the United States Constitution there were built in provisions and measures to ratify or change at future dates.  The realities of 1789 are not the realities of today, nor will they be the realities of the distant future.  Clearly The Bill Of Rights, when written in 1789 help assure our young Nation would be safe against the threat of tyranny.

Article II which in reality is the NRA's "trump card" must be repealed if we ever hope to restore security for future generations.  Article II declares "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The intent here clearly was to ensure that Militias would be prepared in the event of foreign threat in a frontier environment.  We no longer have "Militias" (which in the old days were akin to volunteer fired departments) we now have well regulated & professional Military forces and well regulated Police Departments to serve these important functions of protection.  The necessity for every Joe Blow to keep and bare arms have simply outlived it's usefulness.

Hand guns and semiautomatic weapons serve no useful or amiable purpose other than to kill people.  And, until we as a society assemble the courage to repeal Article II then our children will continue killing one another for no better reason than there was a gun around when they became angry or disturbed about something unimportant.

By and large, I think that the vast majority of citizens truly want reform on the gun issue. However there exists a strong mental block which discourages us from speaking out for fear of being labeled "soft on crime" or "un-American".  These are spin tactics skillfully used by the NRA and we must find doable measures to energize the Republic against this apathetic mindset.  A National Constitutional Convention held and organized by the people, in Philadelphia, 2002 sounds prudent to me.

Thank you for allowing me to burden you with these thoughts.  I'd be most interested to learn how you feel about these ideas and ideals.

Most warmly & appreciatively,

Bruce Lightner