LETTER from SAM WILCOX
To the Editor:
Otsego County is facing a proposal to declare this county a “gun sanctuary.” This would mean that our county board would ban compliance with the Safe Act passed by the state Legislature in 2013.
That act promoted, among other things, background checks, banning assault weapons, and limiting ammunition. It was not anti-gun, rather it was pro-gun safety.
However, the Safe Act has been perceived as a violation of Second Amendment rights by citizens who feel that guns are a vital part of their protective system and feel their right to buy any gun and any amount of ammunition is being blocked.
They cite this Amendment as if it were intended to be unchangeable for all time. They seem unaware that the Constitution was drawn up in the turbulent period of seeking independence from England’s exploitive hold on its colonies in the New World.
Too, the war for independence relied not only on the Continental Army but well-armed militias.
Though the Constitution reflected important visionary, democratic rights, there were flaws in it such as lack of democratic regard for women and African-Americans. It was not a perfect, untouchable document. In fact, amendments were soon being made.
The Second Amendment was in the historical context of relying on well-armed militias to defeat lingering efforts of English troops to subdue the rebellious colonials, a condition that no longer prevails.
Yet, pro-gun citizens abetted by the National Rifle Association seem to believe the Second Amendment simply established forever the inalienable right to own guns and ammunition with no restrictions.
Fast forward, and we have a supposedly sane, First World country like the U.S. condoning its populace being armed by guns and unlimited ammunition, even those designed for warfare. This condoning of the vast arsenal of guns in our country ignores evidence that the more guns possessed in any country, the more deaths there will be by gunfire.
No wonder we are among the seven countries of the world with the highest rate of death by gunfire from murder, accident, suicide and mass shootings. It is as if we extol weapons of mass destruction.
Please, let us not take a step backward from the Safe Act by becoming a “gun sanctuary.” We accept many restrictions for car ownership and operation. Why? It lowers the motor vehicle death rate by making driving safer. Why should we not accept similar restrictions about guns?