TRUCKEE, Calif. - First, I think I can say that on behalf of all responsible law-abiding gun owners everywhere, that we deplore the atrocity that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The actions of that individual are reprehensible beyond belief.
However, I believe the reaction against firearms by politicians, the media and some citizens is misplaced.
First off, let me point out that a gun is an inanimate object. It is not good or evil - it is simply a collection of steel, rubber and plastic put together by human beings to serve a purpose. Left untouched by a human, the gun will sit there doing nothing until the end of time, the same as a car will do sitting in the drive way.
It takes a human being to pick up the gun or turn the key in the ignition. Then the responsibility lies solely on the person in possession of the inanimate object, be it gun or car. Therefore, the inanimate object cannot be held responsible for the actions of a human being.
Second, the right of citizens to keep and bear arms is clearly spelled out in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, to wit, "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."
Militia is defined as:
• 1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
• 2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to a call for service in an emergency.
• 3. The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.
Clearly the founding fathers of this country wanted the citizens to be able to form a militia to defend themselves against any threats, foreign or domestic. Also, clearly this militia must be armed with weapons that are able to accomplish this task, i.e. military type weapons such as the AR-15.
If we give up the right to protect ourselves under the Second Amendment, we might as well give up the other rights guaranteed by the Constitution, such as the right to free speech, freedom of religion, the right to free assembly and the freedom of the press, among others.
The whole point is we need to focus our attention on keeping firearms out of the hands of people intent on doing harm. How? It is my opinion that a majority of these mass shootings are perpetrated by people who are mentally ill, and all effort should be made to deny them access to firearms.
Second, while declaring schools as a "gun free zone" sounds like a good idea, it simply tells an individual with ill intent that they will encounter no opposition if they go there to do mayhem. Schools should be a place of safety and education for our children, and to accomplish this we have to be able to protect them.
I do not like the idea of arming teachers. Their job is to educate our children, not carry guns. That being said, they may called upon to be the last line of defense for our children, and as such if they choose to arm themselves, they should have the right to do so. I believe a permanent police presence in all our schools is necessary to protect our children.
John Creveling is a Truckee resident.