Eliminating handguns not the answer

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, April 11, 2012

by Tom Fretts

I was shocked and dismayed to read a recent letter to your editor (“Shotgun sufficient for this hunter,” Feb. 29) in which the author wrote, “I’d have no trouble with legislation limiting or eliminating the sale and ownership and use of pistols.”

With all due respect, I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to read such a thing from a man who is deservedly highly respected in the community, and even more so due to the fact that he is a hunter!

Is it not obvious to everyone by this point in time that the anti-gun lobby and the gun-control mentality will take every inch that they are given by gun owners, and by those who are unconcerned with the Second Amendment, until they finally take by force any last remaining vestiges of gun rights?

Have we not seen gun rights being taken away incrementally from law-abiding citizens, one bit at a time, because of attitudes like this?

This effort has already been highly successful regarding handguns as well as some long arms, and you can be certain that when those loose ends are tied up, the gun-control lobby will immediately focus on the remaining long guns.

If weapons of self-defense are stripped away from those law-abiding citizens who would use them primarily for that purpose, as well as for recreation, who then would be in a position of strength?

Obviously, the criminals, who by definition do not obey such laws and would not voluntarily divest themselves of those weapons. The good citizens are thereby left defenseless, and at the mercy of the thugs and criminals, or at the mercy of a tyrannical government.

Can’t happen in America, you say? Wake up! Remember New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina? Look around! This has happened numerous times throughout history, precisely because of attitudes like the one noted above.

And it really doesn’t matter what any individual “wants” or “doesn’t want.” The bottom line is that the Constitution is the supreme law of this land, and it guarantees every law-abiding American the right to keep and bear arms, of any and every type, whether anyone else likes it or not.

The gentleman says that he has hunted in Southampton County for 65 years. I find it ironic that he has enjoyed his right to own and use firearms as he sees fit, but comes down so heavily, not to mention inconsistently and sarcastically, on the right of others to use their Second Amendment rights as they so wish.

Certainly an argument can be made for safety, to the extent that the argument is logical and valid. However, if rifles are legal for use in Virginia for hunting of any type, for any particular game, in any given season, then the argument against black powder hunting based upon ballistic safety is thereby invalidated and without legitimacy.

So let’s be logically consistent about that. And the sarcasm about moving to another county is irrelevant, and adds nothing logical to the argument.

The argument referring to criminal use of handguns holds no water. If there was no such thing as a handgun, criminals would use long guns. If there were no long guns, they’d use crossbows.

Lacking a crossbow, they’d use a knife, or a club, or strangle you with a piece of rope. Bottom line is that guns don’t kill people. People kill people, and they’ll use whatever might be available.

“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

“Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.” —Martin Niemöller.

The point being that many don’t seem to care when others lose their rights. However, when all others have been silenced, and they come to take your rights, who then will stand for you? The easiest way for elitists to divest the citizenry of our rights is to divide groups into opposing factions, then conquer those factions one at a time.

Let’s not allow that to happen to our Second Amendment rights. Instead let’s stand together on our God-given rights, listed in the Constitution, as one voice against those who would attempt to take away any of our inalienable liberties.

I hope and pray that the office of The Tidewater News has been flooded with letters and emails from every sportsman who read the opinion in question. If not, we may be in more serious trouble than I thought.

TOM FRETTS is a Courtland-area resident and owner of Fretts Construction. He is the vice chairman of the Western Tidewater Tea Party and can be reached at tom@frettsco.com.