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Owning firearms is a First Amendment exercise, too

Letter to the Editor

Following the hysteria generated by gun prohibitionists in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, a nationwide rush on gun stores began as citizens bought semiautomatic modern sporting rifles, handguns and ammunition, in effect “making a political statement” about proposals to ban such firearms.

Making political statements is what the First Amendment is all about.

The so-called “assault rifle” has become a symbol of freedom and the right of the people to speak out for the entire Bill of Rights. Banning such firearms, which are in common use today, can no longer be viewed exclusively as an infringement on the Second Amendment, but must also be considered an attack on the First Amendment.

Many people now feel that owning a so-called “assault rifle” without fear of government confiscation defines what it means to be an American citizen. Their backlash against knee-jerk extremism is a natural reaction to overreaching government.

What should one expect in response to this heightened rhetoric and legislative hysteria? Citizens in other countries react differently to government intrusion into their lives, but Americans are uniquely independent. Among firearms owners, talk of gun bans and attempts to limit one’s ability to defend himself or herself against multiple attackers by limiting the number of rounds they can have in a pistol or rifle magazine turns gun owners into political activists.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) did not intend her gun ban proposal to cause skyrocketing sales of semiautomatic rifles and pistols, but that’s what happened. She must live with the consequences of her shameless political exploitation of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

President Barack Obama never envisioned the rush to purchase rifle and pistol magazines, but telling American citizens they shouldn’t have something is like sending a signal they need to acquire those things immediately.

Vice President Joe Biden never imagined his efforts would result in a tidal wave of new members and contributions to gun rights organizations, making the firearms community stronger and more united in opposition to any assault on the Second Amendment.

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