Letter to the Editor


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To the editor:

President Clinton is again trying to push legislation through Congress requiring trigger locks on firearms. Society is being blamed for the tragedy that took place in Michigan, in which a 6-year-old girl was killed by a 6-year-old boy who had taken a stolen gun to school. I believe Clinton to be right. If the pistol had had a trigger lock on it, this killing might not have occurred. But Kayla is not dead because of absence of trigger locks. She died because of the irresponsible neglect of the boy's uncle.

The uncle left a loaded pistol in easy reach of a 6-year-old child. Since the uncle showed no regard for the law by having in his possession a stolen gun, and since he obviously was irresponsible in his parenting and didn't mind breaking other laws, I doubt that a trigger lock requirement would have impressed him.

Instead of blaming the boy's uncle for being so irresponsible, Mr. Clinton seems to put the blame on all the rest of us gun owners. Since the 1960s, society is to blame for every criminal act committed. The individual who commits a crime, or in this case shows a lack of responsible behavior, cannot be held accountable for his actions alone. The blame has to be shared with the rest of society. Mr. Clinton seems to believe that all gun owners should be punished along with the boy's uncle. He is not only pushing for trigger locks, but is using this tragedy to push for more gun control. Many in Congress seems to support him in his objectives. The Senate bill in question would place more restrictions on buying and selling of guns at gun shows. The Senate language could also implement greater gun-owner registration, since the bill includes a new requirement that could give the government the serial numbers of firearms that gun owners have recently purchased.

Last year, from 600,000 to 2 million civilians (depending on the source of information) protected themselves from criminal activity with the use of or threat of a gun. Over 1,500 criminals were killed by civilians compared to over 600 by law enforcement officers. Without a gun that was handy, these people might not have been able to protect themselves. We always hear about the tragedies that incite us to anger and blame, the ones that foster the opinion, however unfeasible, that if we had one more law or regulation, these tragedies would never happen. We never hear about the times that free, law-abiding individuals have utilized their firearms in a responsible manner to stop a tragedy before it happened. Trigger locks may give the criminal an advantage that they don't need. Of course, this does not excuse parents and other adults from the responsibility of protecting our children by keeping guns out of their reach. But having more laws will not turn irresponsible people into responsible people.

I would like to ask Mr. Clinton and Congress if, when they raised their right hand and swore to uphold the Constitution, if they truly meant it.

There is no place in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate firearms. There are, however, the Second, Ninth and 10th Amendments, that claim Congress does not have that power. The federal government has shown itself to be among those who choose to ignore the law of the land -- a law, by the way, that applies specifically to them.

Congress must never forget that the Constitution is not cast in stone. It is cast in our forefathers' blood. There are those who would deny every right we have in order to further their own agenda. It is our responsibility to preserve those rights. All Americans feel hurt and violated by the death of Kayla, but before we overreact and pass more laws that void the Constitution and restrict the rights of individuals, let's remember that we cannot legislate responsibility. Punishing law-abiding individuals will not make one parent a better parent nor stop one criminal from breaking the law.


Marble Hill