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.