Friday, June 27, 2008

Gunning for some debate

It strikes me as more than a bit ironic that on the day that the U.S. Supreme Court issues a historic ruling on the rights of Americans to own guns, the front page of this newspaper is again dominated by a story involving the use of a gun to snuff out another life in the city of Chester.

I know, I know, it wasn’t the gun that really killed 30-year-old Khali Henson. It was the person who pulled the trigger.

But I remain convinced that we have far too many guns in the hands of far too many people who have no business possessing them, and who think nothing of using them to settle their differences.

The question now seems to be where do we go from here. The high court’s ruling for the first time clearly espouses an interpretation of the Second Amendment to mean that individuals have the right to own a gun or guns for their personal use, including defending their home.

In the process they knocked down a three-decades-old ban on handguns in Washington, D.C.

The court’s ruling also is a setback for those who would argue that gun rights should be viewed only as part of the so-called “well-regulated militia” mentioned in the Second Amendment.

It will not, however, end the battle over handguns, and those seeking to rein in their use and availability. For instance, officials in Philadelphia, which recently passed a series of ordinances to beef up gun controls, appear optimistic that the high court is not ruling against all such measures.

They continue to joust with the NRA and Delco lawyer C. Scott Shields, who were successful in having several key elements of the Philly laws tossed, even while several others were left intact. Among them are a 48-hour deadline to report lost or stolen guns, the right of police to seize guns from someone considered a danger to themselves or others, and a ban on guns for anyone subject to a protection from abuse order.

The court tossed provisions limiting gun purchases to one a month.

Still to be decided is whether the city even has the legal ability to create such laws. Shields and the NRA argue that lies solely with the state Legislature.

The debate will continue. We are a society awash in guns. I don’t want to see anyone’s Second Amendment rights violated. I also think there are too many guns in the hands of people who should not have them.

Will the laws currently on the books resolve this situation, even if they were vigorously enforced.

I’m not sure.

What I am sure about is that we’re no closer to solving this riddle, even with the ruling from the high court.

If you have ideas, offer your response. Go ahead. Take your best “shot.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you publish all the responses you've received for this editorial ??? I disagree the 2 amendment is no different then the 1st Do you think the court or the state should be able to limit free speech or the police to kick in you door without a search warrant ? Why then would you take the rights of 1.5 million law abiding citizens right to own a gun. To fix the gun problems in this state do away with plea bargaining and enforce the laws on the books any crime committed with a gun gets an extra 5 years added to their sentence without parole. Elect judges and DA's that will push for the penalties set in the law. Home upbringing and I'm sorry shouldn't cut it anymore. The police have a hard time dealing with the scumbags on the street and it appears their the same scumbags that were arrested last week

June 29, 2008 at 8:27 AM 

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