Dear Editor:

Every right carries responsibilities and restrictions.

Even my favorite right, the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, has responsibilities — can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, speak the truth, and restrictions — defamation, sedition, child pornography, incitement to imminent lawless action, etc.

Hence, it is quite reasonable to consider two actions regarding the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.  First, institute true universal background checks and registration data bases.  This simply makes good sense.

Second, back the Center for Disease Control’s research on gun violence.

Whatever your position on Second Amendment rights, responsibilities and restrictions, it is essential that we empirically understand it; we should not fear data.  I hope we have the courage to examine this issue in its reality.  Failing either of these sensible actions, I am only left with my default position:  restrict weapons and ammunition that place law enforcement and other first responders in undue harm.

Terry Pickett

This story was posted on February 14, 2013.

One Response to Rights

  1. Shane Tuller

    February 15, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Actually, the court case in which it was decided that restricting yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater was a valid limit on the First Amendment was overturned. It was then decided that it was only illegal if someone was INJURED because of those words. Therefore, the speech is protected, but the speaker may be liable if his words cause harm. Seditious speech is FULLY PROTECTED. I may speak for secession or even an overthrow of government all day long, and I may not be arressted or charged for such speech. I may speak for lawless action, or civil disobedience. It is protected.
    Child pornography is not speech, as such. It is illegal not for what it is, directly, but for what it does. Child pornography hurts children, and therefore infringes on THEIR natural rights. Therefore, that excercise of a right, being free speech, restricts the rights of another. This is the line in the sand when the discussion of freedom is debated.
    I have a natural born right to protect myself and my family, wherever I may be. To limit my access to suitable weapons, either be it background checks, registration, or firearm restrictions, infringes on my freedoms. As above, with the crowded theater, I have the unfettered right to possess and carry a weapon in order to protect myself. It is only if I restrict the rights of another, be it by intimidation or murder, may I be prosecuted.