Letter From Paul Conway
To the Editor:
The proposal to create a Second Amendment “sanctuary county” is an awful idea for a variety of reasons.
The first and simplest reason is that the Second Amendment is NOT under attack. There is no likelihood it will ever be abolished. The U.S. Supreme Court and a vast majority of Americans support the right of citizens to own firearms to hunt and to protect themselves, their families and property.
(The wording in the Constitution that says, ”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State“ has been irrelevant for decades but the belief that citizens have a right to own their own firearms has long been embraced.)
The sanctuary proposal is clearly intended to preclude the implementation of reasonable gun restrictions that a majority of citizens presumably support. (For example, public opinion polls indicate that a majority of Americans oppose the future sale of military assault weapons.)
I write as a gun owner and former hunter who has voted for moderate Republicans in previous elections. (I have also long enjoyed and admired Rick Brockway’s many newspaper columns on outdoor life and hunting. But on this issue I strongly disagree with him.)
Along with many other Americans, for many years I have been alienated by the NRA’s uncompromising opposition to common sense gun control initiatives.
Ironically perhaps, the NRA began after Union generals discovered that their troops fired as many as 1,000 rounds for every bullet that hit a Confederate soldier. They wanted an NRA that would promote better marksmanship in their troops.
During my lifetime the NRA has gone from an organization that mainly promoted marksmanship, hunting and related activities, to a highly political, usually partisan lobby group. Along with a right wing, libertarian ideology, it now represents the gun industry, which is motivated by profits gained from the unregulated sale of firearms, even military assault weapons.
The movement to promote the proposal is represented as a “grass roots” effort. I have strong doubts. Bottom line is this: It is clearly supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
One need only go to the NRA’s homepage and internet messages to see that it endorses the idea, as it did previously in Virginia and elsewhere. Given that organization’s ability to mobilize its membership by propaganda and fear tactics, there may soon be a large number of petition signatures demanding that the county Board of Representatives implement the idea.
A flood of petitions is not a sufficient reason to support the proposal. After reading a May 20, USA Today essay entitled, “NRA Helps Sheriffs Fight Gun Laws in Second Amendment ‘Sanctuaries’,” my doubts were reinforced.
The newly constituted county Board of Representatives should not allow itself to be politicized by this proposal. Inevitably it will be a highly partisan issue. This is bad timing to introduce it.
I can’t imagine an initiative more likely to divide and polarize our newly constituted Otsego County Board than this one.