In recent weeks you have all, no doubt, had much to ponder, along with all other Americans, regarding the Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy. Given the magnitude of this incident, and the volume of input you have all, I am sure, correspondingly received, I’d like to keep my own brief and to the point.
Vermont has long been regarded by advocates of an armed citizenry as a role model and leading example. If anything, Vermonters have long shown that individual liberty and personal responsibility works best in reducing crime and providing for safe and secure communities. Indeed, contrast Vermont’s per capita crime rate to other jurisdictions where firearms regulations are far more stringent, and it becomes apparent that such laws in practice produce the opposite effect for which they are so misguidedly intended.
While I think we might all agree that firearms of any kind do not belong in the hands of hardened criminals or the mentally unstable, the existence of such persons in our society should not be used as an excuse to punish the innocent, nor limit the freedoms or the natural right to self-defense and protection of property that all peaceful individuals should enjoy. Such is the legitimate role of semi-automatic guns, regardless of their various features or cosmetic appearances.
It is my sincere hope that the recent abomination that transpired in Connecticut, as terrible as we might agree that it was, will not be found or used as justification for denying rights to those who have done no wrong. Remember that Connecticut already has some of the most stringent gun laws in America — as did New York, before legislators there recently imposed even more draconian restrictions on residents. I fear that we are about to see that such laws will once again do nothing to stop or deter criminals, and will do much to prevent honest people from protecting themselves and enjoying their supposedly inalienable rights as Americans.
Again, with regard to responsible firearms ownership, Vermont serves as a noble example of how freedom works. Let us work together to insure it remains ever so.
This piece originally appeared at Strike the Root,www.strike-the-root.com