I applaud your articles suggesting that general aviation can learn something from NRA concerning how to be more effective in protecting our freedoms.
I cannot leave unanswered Lohren Applegate’s letter printed in the Feb. 25 edition (Don’t bond GA with the NRA), in which he takes issue with your suggestion, primarily because he does not like NRA’s agenda. He states that NRA’s devotion to upholding the Constitution is a “lie” and “perpetuating a fraud on the meaning of the Second Amendment.” I assume he is referring to the standard anti-gun rights argument that the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment only grants the right to bear arms to the government and not individual citizens. Perhaps he should read a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Justice in which it did a definitive analysis of the subject and concluded that “the Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a state or a quasi-collective right restricted to those persons who serve in organized militia units.” The full text of this report is available at USDOJ.gov:80/olc/SecondAmendment2.htm.
Applegate states “the leaders of that organization (NRA) have fought to keep military type assault weapons available to anyone entering a gun store, they fought the Brady Bill, which asked only that gun purchasers be checked for felony convictions.” That is untrue. First, NRA does not believe that “anyone” should be allowed to buy a gun. It favors prohibiting felons, violent criminals and minors from owning guns. Second, the Brady Bill addressed availability of handguns, not military type assault weapons, and NRA opposed it because of its establishment of a waiting period provision, which was allegedly necessary to allow time for a criminal background check of the purchaser of a handgun. Instead, NRA fought for and assisted in the creation of a computerized “instant background check” system that does not require a waiting period. Waiting periods are an arbitrary infringement of a citizen’s right to obtain a gun, and in some cases have cost law-abiding citizens their lives when they were unable to obtain a gun in time after their lives were threatened.
It is disturbing that many people today don’t seem to understand that the fundamental reason the founders wrote the Second Amendment was not to “grant” us a right, but as an expression of a right which is God given and is necessary to protect our other God given rights as enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Consider these words: “Certainly, one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of the citizen to bear arms is just one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.”
This is not a quote from the NRA’s “propaganda,” nor from George W. Bush or even Rush Limbaugh. It is a quote from the model of American liberalism, former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.
Conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, we all know it’s true — diminish any of our freedoms, and we diminish democracy. A government powerful enough to take away our freedom to bear arms is also powerful enough to take away our freedom to fly. If you support government restricting the right of the people to own guns because a few individuals abuse them, then it would be hypocritical to object to restrictions on our freedom to fly because a few individuals abuse airplanes. We must all stand together in defense of ALL of our freedoms — no exceptions.
Ft. Atkinson, Wis.