Freedom has a price
Recent demonstrations have featured gun owners carrying their "assault-style" rifles openly in public. Is it their intent to make it seem as "normal" as wearing a hat?
If the "gun lobby" is successful in this campaign, I see a future where the "bad guy" will look like any open-carry advocate until he pulls his weapon and starts blasting the women and children to kingdom come. Is this the price of "freedom" in America?
I've read stories on gun-advocacy sites about the "under-reported" cases where guns in civilian hands saved lives, notably during home invasions but also just by showing the gun to potential muggers on the street.
In the latter cases, the proud gun owners declared victory; most seemed satisfied to have "scared the bad guys off." What I didn't see in those stories was those gun owners calling the police and having the miscreant arrested. With the ubiquity of cameras and instant communications in our pockets, would not a quick photo of a mugger and instant upload to social networks be more effective in deterring street crime, assisting law enforcement in capturing the criminals rather than just sending them after easier prey? One hand on gun; other on phone?
JEFFERSON YOUNG, Boise
Will sheriffs keep their oath and defend the Second Amendment? Many have answered, no - yielding their oath to the "supremacy clause."
The fallacy in this argument begins with the fact that the "supremacy clause" does not exist in the Constitution. Those words are merely a descriptor used to refer to Article VI, section 2. This descriptor has become a substitution for the very section to which it refers. Subsequently, the supremacy clause has evolved into a life of its own apart from the actual authoritative section it was coined to reference. The use, overuse and misuse of that descriptor has intoxicated the federal government into believing it has limitless "supreme" power over the states and conditioned the people to believe the same. Its use has changed the scope of the very constitutional source it references and knocked it out of alignment with the expressed intent behind it - as found in Federalist papers 33 and 44, respectively. Much like "separation of church and state," people are seeing something that is not there. What is worse is that nationally, sheriffs are citing it as a justification for standing down to the federal government on gun control.
DOUG TRAUBEL, Mountain Home
NRA is not a friend
As I watch the assault weapons ban play out, I wonder why anyone not in the military feels they need one, especially one with a high capacity clip.
I was in the military and handled the M14 and M16, and when I left the service, I never dreamed that any civilian or criminal would get access to any assault rifle, let alone buy them at the local gun shop.
The least we should do is require anyone buying these weapons to undergo a background check, register it, take a firearms training class, and be restricted to 8- to 10-round clips.
Why can't we understand that we are the ones that will be responsible for losing our Second Amendment rights?
The NRA is not our friend. Their no-way, no-how mentality will force the majority of more than 300 million people that don't sign off on their agenda to say enough is enough.
Gun owners have to take a hard look at where the line needs to be drawn - what types of weapons we actually need.
The choice is ours. Bend some now or break when the majority of non-hunters, non-gun owners say, "Enough is enough, take them all."
ROB STRONG, New Meadows
Raney is correct
Sheriff (Gary) Raney recently wrote a well-informed opinion piece about his department's enforcement of federal and state firearms laws in Idaho. I commend him for adding some reason to the controversies surrounding Second Amendment rights.
The recent incident of a Meridian man bringing an open-carry pistol into the Capitol building and being pictured in surveillance tapes has roiled a number of the legislators into consideration of additional restrictions while on public property. An attorney general's opinion (www.ag.idaho.gov/concealedWeapons/concealedWeapons_index.html) gives a good summary of the present laws about who can possess and own guns. In addition, Wikipedia summarizes federal laws' applicability to gun possession in Idaho. See: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Idaho#cite_note-IAG-CWPF-2).
I spent a number of years in Texas, where the image of pickup trucks displaying a gun rack prominently was omnipresent. I haven't seen that sort of display here in Idaho. Is that because many more people have concealed weapons permits?
Shouldn't we have a broadly based discussion about when and where guns and firearms of any sort should be restricted? Employers can make restrictions, as can school districts. Who else should be able to "tighten" the rules?
WILLIAM J. BONNER, Meridian
Change our attitudes
If our lawmakers are upset by a law-abiding citizen carrying a firearm, maybe Idaho ought to follow Illinois' example and not allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms and only let criminals have that privilege. Maybe then we, too, can be in the national news for having the most homicides. I sure hope our lawmakers see beyond this and encourage more law-abiding citizens to exercise their rights and responsibilities to protect and keep Idaho safe and not give criminals the advantage. This includes eliminating "Gun Free Zones" where criminals can slaughter innocent people without being opposed by a peaceful, law-abiding, firearm-carrying citizen, because that citizen follows the current law of not having a firearm in the "Gun Free Zone." Let's change our attitudes and laws to truly make Idaho safer.
THOMAS ASHBY, Twin Falls
I am encouraging our delegates to vote in favor of national background checks. The spokesman for the National Rifle Association keeps stating background checks would not have stopped recent school shootings.
I have a very personal story about a friend of mine with a diagnosis of schizophrenia who back in 1973 became angry with her Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrist and angrily told me and some of her other friends that she had bought a gun and was going to shoot her psychiatrist.
I told her that I did not believe that she had bought a gun. A mutual friend of ours showed me the receipt from the gun store. There was a seven-day wait period in effect at the time. My friend lied about her history of mental illness. I called the VA security police and asked them if they could stop her from picking up that gun and I was told that they could.
Later my friend told me she couldn't buy the gun due to her mental illness. She told me she was going to try to buy a gun from a private person.
SUSANNE M. COLVIN, Boise
Pay attention to data
Ready, fire, aim seems to be the anti-gun legislators' approach to reducing gun violence in this country. They just ignore the fact that much of the mayhem by gun happens in cities with the most gun control laws.
Coming from a career background of engineers and accountants, data and facts were considered very important in problem solving and correction.
When there is an airplane crash, the FAA, the manufacturer, etc., go to extremes to find the cause and reason before any fix is implemented. To paraphrase ex-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's Benghazi remarks: "What does it matter why so many Americans are killed by guns?" Well, it matters a lot if you plan to make any worthwhile changes.
If we are going to ameliorate the situation, we need to know at least: Who are the shooters? Why did they kill people? What was the actual weapon? Where did they get the weapon? These data are available to someone with the resources to compile them. Without sufficient statistical data and facts, more legislation is just a shot in the dark.
TOM CARROLL, Meridian
Join Oath Keepers
The Obama regime's intent to undermine citizens' Second Amendment rights, America's borders, economy and sovereignty to the United Nations are openly treasonous acts.
America's founders created oath of office contracts as a tool for citizens to enforce accountability and ethics in politics. Our Second Amendment was created to arm citizens with a type of weaponry necessary to prevent foreign or domestic overthrow. It's the obligation of every armed and able-bodied American to preserve our Republic, Constitution, rights and freedoms.
I urge millions of citizens, both prior, current and nonmilitary, to join Oath Keepers. Take and enforce the solemn oath to support our country, the oath many of our politicians have violated. Unlike politicians, voting records don't lie.
Constitutional sheriffs, law enforcement and troops need and deserve armed backup if necessary. It may require more than lip service to repel the Obama regime's rebellion against America; let this regime determine if there will be another Waco or Ruby Ridge slaughter.
Oath Keeper's national membership will respond to their civic oath obligation. Millions of Americans standing together can back down tyranny of a few hundred anti-American politicians and prevent unnecessary bloodshed.
CHUCK THOMAS, Oath Keeper, editor, www.voteforabetteridaho.org, Boise