Gun ownership ‘is not about rights’? That isn’t what the Second Amendment tells us

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Yes, about rights

I must take exception to Daniel Claiborn’s Dec. 1 guest commentary, “Guns, not mental health issues, cause US mass shootings.” (8A) He states in his arguments against guns: “It is not about rights. I might have the right to paint myself blue, but that would not be in anyone’s best interest.” His saying it isn’t about rights does not make it true.

I argue that it is absolutely about rights — see the Bill of Rights, Second Amendment. The exercise of that or any other enumerated right need not be in anyone’s “best interest,” including the person exercising the right. Furthermore, even if the exercise of the right puts self or others at risk, the severity and immediacy of such risk must be considered — sometimes, even litigated — before any right is summarily restricted.

He also writes: “Being reasonable and acting reasonably, without the presence of guns, make all of us safer.” I respond that being reasonable and acting reasonably even in the presence of guns make us safer.

Bottom line: Nothing Claiborn says is justification for subverting the Second Amendment.

- Charles Black, Leavenworth

No accident

In my home, there are many potential lethal hazards — kitchen knives, cleaning chemicals, stairs, bathtubs and more. I confess, I even possess a jar of peanut butter. But none of these objects has the primary purpose of causing death.

The primary, if not sole purpose, of a firearm is death. Therefore, the highest standard of care should be expected when allowed in a home, especially one with a child. (Nov. 30, 8A, “Child killed in apparent accidental shooting in KCK: Police) It was no accident that a gun was brought into the home, that bullets were purchased, that the gun was loaded or that the gun was not properly secured.

It might have been unintentional, but it was not accidental.

Why is it that when parents, trying to protect their children, places them in car seats and tragically leaves them in cars to later be found dead of heat, society cries out that justice must be done? Yet when a small child is the unintentional victim of gun violence, we are quick to label it an “accident.” Should not the unnatural death of every child be investigated for possible criminal charges?

My heart goes out to the family, but justice must be pursued.

- Debra Ahern, Smithville

Wise founders

So a certain former president believes it’s time to terminate the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps he is yearning for the law-abiding “good old days” of 1800 when Thomas Jefferson won by a landslide. Of one vote. In the House of Representatives. After 36 ballots.

But at least no real crimes were committed way back then, right? You know, like a sitting vice president later killing the one who cast that pesky tie-breaking vote? And was indicted but never prosecuted or impeached? Oh, wait, that happened in 1804.

Well, thankfully there were no “witch hunts” then. OK, maybe the murderous veep did preside over the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase while under indictment for killing Alexander Hamilton.

Our bigger-than-life founders did not “terminate” the Constitution, a sacred document that still serves us well.

So, Mr. One-Time President, shred your copy of the Constitution if you must. That’s your right. But I’m hanging onto my own.

- Clyde Waltermate, Raytown

Money, mouth

The U.S. Supreme Court is now hearing a case regarding a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples, saying it is against her faith. (Dec. 6, 1A, “Justices spar in latest clash of religion and gay rights”). Opponents claim that if the petitioner wins, a range of businesses will be able to discriminate, refusing to serve Black, Jewish or Muslim would-be customers, interracial or interfaith couples, or immigrants, among others.

Here’s a thought: Why not take a free-market approach? Businesses that believe their religious freedom is compromised, step forward and show us your colors. Promote your refusal to do business with those who offend your beliefs. This way, LGBTQ and other consumers you disapprove of will know where to spend their money.

The biggest losers would be the bigots who refuse to do business with our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters, representing an estimated collective U.S. buying power of $1 trillion.

- Ron Fugate, Overland Park