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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Law-abiding gun owners should not be considered second-class citizens

Wayne Doenges
Wayne Doenges
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:01 am
I am getting tired of being classed as a second-class citizen. It seems to me that it is fashionable to speak out today against the citizenry who own guns legitimately. Never mind the moral and mental decay that is responsible for criminal use of guns.I am an 85-year-old Korean War veteran who was trusted with guns by our government to help our nation in a time of need. I’m now retired from a lifelong dedication to the work ethic. I served my local government as an elected official after retirement. I have been teaching gun responsibility for 50 years.

I am a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash award. And yet, and yet, with all these things, I’m considered a second-class citizen by many. Ignorance, twisting of facts, downright lies and a desire of many in our government to take away lawfully owned guns from the hands of our citizens has produced this attitude. Meeting supposition with facts sometimes can change perception.

Maybe facts could persuade some who are misinformed about gun laws that things aren’t what they seem and that 20,000 gun laws might only be for show, not go. In addition, current knowledge of crime statistics would be helpful, too.

The latest Pew Research study indicates that gun homicides are down 39 percent since 1993. Non-fatal crimes involving guns are down 70 percent during the same period. This, of course, does not apply directly to the recent mass shootings. However, I note that all three of the mass shootings in the news were committed by persons of questionable mental stability. In fact, one of the latest alleged shooters has entered a plea of insanity.

However, that hasn’t stopped the march for even more legislation.

The buzzword today is that we need more background checks to stop criminal use of guns. It’s worth a look into how that would work.

Here’s how that is done in one of the worst crime cities in the land.

Chicago ranks at or near the top in violent crimes among cities. Hardened criminals in Chicago are not being regularly prosecuted. There were only 63 prosecutions under federal law in fiscal year 2011. Last year, Chicago had 506 murders. How many would have occurred if criminals were prosecuted for possession of firearms is only subject to conjecture. However, federal law has many and extreme penalties for criminal possession. A few examples:

Federal code 18 U.S.C. 922(g), 10 years for possession of a firearm by a felon, drug user or fugitive. Possession meaning even touching a gun.

Federal code 18 U.S.C 922(j), 10 years for possession of a stolen firearm.

Federal code 18 U.S.C. 924(j), Death or life imprisonment for committing murder while possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence or drug trafficking.

The fact remains. Federal laws are in place to punish those who steal, buy illegal or attempt to buy by lying on the background application. These laws are not being fully utilized as crime prevention tools.

Now, additional laws are demanded by some folks in Washington to expand the background checks and even possibly register guns. “If it saves only one life” is the battle cry. That phrase has been used many times to pass ineffectual laws.

Additional laws will not solve the problem of mass shootings. The federal laws on the books are not being used to prosecute. The federal Department of Justice says that these are only “paper violations.” If they are only paper violations then why do they exist? It hardly gives me a warm fuzzy when additional laws are wanted to infringe on the rights of lawful gun owners.

The United States is based on the rule of law. It was never intended by the writers of the Constitution to punish the lawful citizens who legally own guns and are guaranteed that right under the Second Amendment and the latest ruling by the supreme law of the land, the Supreme Court.

I sometimes wonder why, in this age, people trust the government with their guns but don’t trust the lawful citizen with theirs. We are no different than anyone else. We use guns in competition, hunting, sports and, yes, in self-defense. However, we have been unfairly subjected to many gun laws.

Some might think that with all of these gun laws there must be something sinister about gun owners. There isn’t. Gun owners do conform to the law; criminals do not.

I conform to the gun laws, therefore, I and other lawful gun owners should not be regarded as second-class citizens.


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