In an article published in the March 21 edition of The Pilot, it was reported that about two dozen Moore County citizens attended the March 16 Board of Commissioners meeting seeking a statement to expand on the previous support by the board for gun ownership.

This was expressed by the commissioners in a meeting early last year, wherein the board adopted a resolution vowing “to use every authority and power of the county to defend and protect the rights of its citizens to bear arms.”

The article goes on to describe the views of many in attendance on this issue. One resident went so far to say he is “uncomfortable living right now.” Others spoke with equal hyperbole, nearly all without basic facts about the Second Amendment or the process needed to alter it.

I support the Second Amendment. I also believe the overwhelming majority of gun owners in Moore County and throughout the country are law-abiding citizens who respect their guns and use them safely. I may disagree with one’s interpretation of the language in the Second Amendment relative to a well-regulated militia versus private ownership, but that is not the main point here.

Having some familiarity with this issue, I cannot think of a single law the Congress has passed in the last 50 years to restrict gun ownership in any way except for age requirements, mental competency or conducting background checks when guns are purchased from federally licensed dealers; and the overwhelming majority of gun owners support this regulation.

And, to their credit, these same gun owners support background checks to all sales of guns, regardless of who the seller is. As it is now, only licensed dealers must perform these checks. This is referred to as the gun-show loophole.

As this is being written, we have seen two mass shootings in less than a week take the lives of 16 innocent souls, people who were doing nothing more than working or buying groceries.

When will this carnage stop? When will we have enough guns? When will we lose enough children, parents, sisters, brothers, or police killed in the line of duty? Do we really need any type of assault weapons available to the public?

As was pointed out in the above referenced article, there are several bills that have been introduced in the Congress to apply new restrictions, and I would suspect there will now be more. But rest assured, gun owners. The chances of them being signed into law are remote. And that is because there is not nearly the level of support for these bills in either the House or the Senate that is needed for passage.

After all, if nothing gets done after slaughtering 26 very innocent people, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, what can we expect from any other mass shooting? While some statutory law changes could be achieved without changing the Constitution, it is important to set the record straight as to how nearly impossible it would be to alter the either the Second Amendment or the Constitution at large in any way.

Former President Trump made a point of preaching that, if elected, Democrats would take away your Second Amendment rights. This was simply not true and simply served as fodder for his base. Many Democrats and most Republicans would vote against these efforts, as has been the case in the past.

So, before anyone goes off talking about possibly changing the Constitution, let’s understand process to alter any language in our Constitution. The Constitution has been amended 27 times in our 244-year history. The first 10 amendments are the Bill of Rights. While there are four ways to change the Constitution, only two ways have ever been used, and one of those used only once. The other 26 changes were all done the same way.

First, a resolution stating the change is introduced in Congress. After extensive debate, that resolution must pass both houses of Congress with a two-thirds majority vote. Next, the resolution is sent to all 50 states’ legislatures, where three-fourths of them, or 38, must also pass it. Given that the U.S. Senate is a 50-50 split by party, that Democrats hold just a narrow majority in the House, and that most state legislatures are held by the Republicans, it is easy to see why any change would be close to impossible.

To suggest that any such change is on the horizon is either an attempt to inject some type of scare tactic or a demonstration of a total lack of understanding and knowledge of the legislative process. To be clear, those who believe or say these changes are occurring simply lack credibility.

Regardless of the desire of many to see a limit of some type placed on firearms in this country, no one’s rights or freedoms are being taken away, certainly no more than limiting how fast anyone can drive on any street. Perhaps the same people who attended the commissioners’ meeting do not like speed limits or stop signs either and believe those are infringements upon their personal freedoms, as well.

Let’s all hope the county commissioners reject any further promoting of gun ownership in our county.

Jim Hart, of Pinehurst, spent 38 years in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist and chief of staff to four U.S. congressmen.

(13) comments

Mark Hayes

The war on guns will be as successful as the war on drugs, other than the political fodder it provides, we will not see a drop in mass shootings, gun related crimes or murders. If someone wants to purchase a weapon in order to commit the above, they won't find it difficult to do so illegally, the weapons are already out there. The NRA may contribute to the Republican candidates, but the NRA members are not the perpetrators of the crimes committed by the gangs and the criminal element that are responsible for far more weapon related deaths than those of mentally disturbed mass shooters. The mental evaluation is probably the most ludicrous suggestion yet, who is to determine ones mental state ? There has to be a better way, and blaming the NRA is not among those choices.

Dwight Kidd

Mark, all the liberals, which I consider a mental disease, that are running things in Washington will determine that all conservatives and Trump voters are mentally disturbed so they can take our guns. I don't remember a mass shooting committed by a law abiding person.

Jim Tomashoff

Kidd writes, "I don't remember a mass shooting committed by a law abiding person." This may be the single most ludicrous statement ever made on any subject. Nearly all mass shootings are committed by people who, up to that moment, were law abiding people. Yes there are mass shootings by people with criminal records, but they are the exception that proves the rule. The rest of your comment is pathetic nonsense, although it may well indicate that you have a significant mental impairment that makes you a candidate for so-called "red flag" laws aimed at taking guns away from some certain people.

Dwight Kidd

JT, first I didn't attack you and if I had a significant mental impairment I might a liberal socialist democrat. Thank GOD I am not.

Roger Davis

This is probably obvious but IMO the only people against background checks are those who can't pass the test. The Republican party and one of their biggest donors the NRA are the people scaring gun owners about confiscation." Obama was going to take your guns" anybody remember that? Actually IMO nothing wrong with guns in the hands of responsible people but when you hand them out to anybody with a pulse, you do have a problem. There is not one group promoting gun ownership more than the NRA but they also want you to contribute to their support of politicians (mostly Republican) who agree with their views.

There are probably many thousand gun owners in NC who have passed the background checks and many are carrying concealed and you rarely hear from them because they go about their business quietly, rarely bragging about their collection of guns or crying about gun confiscation.

Mark Hayes

" Background checks " [lol][lol].

Peyton Cook

What has not been addressed is the mental health of many of shooters. This is one thing that is checked by the FBI when seeking to purchase a firearm. Too often a mass shooter, like the one involved in the Parkland HS who had mental problems that were not reported. Like any other item that could kill, a firearm is inanimate unless picked up.

Jim Tomashoff

The FBI checks the mental health of an individual when he/she seeks to purchase a gun. How so?

Jim Hart

The only way mental health can be considered a factor in the sale of a firearm is if a court of law has adjudicated the matter and declared someone to be incompetant. At that point, that information has to be included in the NICS system for the FBI to check. Those are two big "ifs." So often, records are not updated with the appropriate mental health records.

Sally Larson

As a gun owner, I also agree with background checks and closing the gun show loop-hole. Neither of these actions threatens our rights to own a gun but they do demonstrate the sense of responsibility we all should have in keeping guns in safer hands. To be scared every 4 years that gun rights are on the table, isn't it far better to be on the offensive and take things in our own hands showing the world we do care who own guns?

Ed Pieczynski

I'm a gun owner and agree with background checks and agree with closing the gun show loophole but unless I'm wrong the last two shootings that happened were committed with legal guns that had the appropriate background checks.

Kent Misegades

The latest killing in D.C., a leftist taking the life of a policeman, was done with a vehicle. Do vehicles kill people? No, people kill people. The right to life and the protection of it, through weapons if necessary, is an inalienable right from God. The constitution’s 2nd amendment reaffirms this and warns that the government may not infringe upon a right bestowed by God, not humans. Even if the 2nd Amendment disappeared, the right to gun ownership would remain. This is why the authors of the Constitution originally saw no need for the Bill of Rights as they were already implied in the Constitution and its Preamble.

Jim Hart

A right from God? Really? I don't recall seeing that in the Constitution. And, our founding fathers didnt see the need for the Bill of Rights? Why then were they adopted?

Kent, you have been out in right field before, but this takes the cake...

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