The National Rifle Association and like-minded groups supporting free unregulated sales of guns no longer speak for, nor do they represent, the millions of hunters who love hunting for being a challenging, wholesome, and essential activity for themselves and their families.
At this time a well-financed and aggressive effort was launched to undo all gun control laws. By misrepresenting the real purpose and meaning of the Second Amendment in our Constitution, to cover their real intentions, they falsely charge that any and all forms of gun control is an attack on our constitutional rights.
In 2008, this led to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision written by Antonin Scalia, a Reagan appointee, that reversed two centuries of decisions on gun control and stated for the first time that the Second Amendment protected unrestricted personal ownership of firearms.
Previous Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Nixon appointee, stated in 1991 that the Second Amendment “has been the greatest piece of fraud-I repeat the word ‘fraud’-on the American public that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
This statement by Burger, an honest conservative jurist, correctly expresses the outrageous and dangerous ramifications of the current effort to legalize the flood of weapons of mass destruction throughout our country. Many of the very same people who are hysterically stoking the fears of our people against gun control are the very same forces who attack the fundamental basis of our democracy by enacting voter repression laws.
Personal ownership of guns has rocketed to 300 million. Ten of the deadliest mass shootings in American history have occurred since 1984, six within the last five years since the Scalia decision. There have been 65 mass shootings since Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford was shot in 2011. Guns kill 30,000 Americans every year.
That is 300 times as many as in every other industrialized country, where the same mental health problems, films and video games exist, but where guns are strictly regulated.
I, like millions of young people who grew up in farm families, learned to love hunting and accepted it as part of rural life, as natural as milking the cows, slopping the hogs, brushing down the horses. A rifle or shotgun was a necessary and well cared for tool of the trade, as was planting and harvesting machinery, and when the farms became mechanized, the tractor.
As Dale Sunderlin, in his marvelous Star Beacon columns has said, hunters prize their ability to learn the habits and physical attributes of their prey, and to be able to bring down their game with one well-aimed shot. These wonderful animals and birds then take their place in the food chain as naturally as your friendly well cared for beef cow, and other farm animals and fowl.
Those of us who love and honor the great traditions and history of hunting cannot stand idly by and watch the cynical and dangerous fraud being perpetrated on our country by armament and munition profiteers. Their paid merchants of hate must be answered by showing massive support for words of wisdom and leadership coming from President Barack Obama and all who are joining in support of his reasonable and fair proposals for gun and ammunition restrictions.
I, being a WWII veteran, and among the first of those of our armed forces to occupy Germany, have witnessed and know full well the tragic results that come from allowing the merchants of hate to go unanswered.
Click here to read Burger’s 1990 Parade Magazine article on The Right to Bear Arms.