I would like to thank Mr. Dieckman for his insightful letter in the Nov. 23 Whidbey News-Times. It is true that violence in our society is a complex problem with many components that make solutions difficult to clearly define. I do take exception, however, with the fact that the NRA is blameless.
Our state laws clearly define who may own a gun, what weapons are legal and where guns may be carried, usually by defining exclusions. The Supreme Court clearly defined the Second Amendment as a personal right, but not until 2008 — 230 years after it was written. As I read that decision, the personal right portion is a minor part. The majority of the decision identifies the state’s rights to regulate gun ownership and the individual’s responsibilities that come with the right to keep and bear arms.
The NRA that I grew up with provided an opportunity for community among gun owners and was a major source of, and proponent for, gun safety. It seems to me that the major role of the NRA today is as a lobbyist for the gun manufacturers. The group fights any and all efforts by the states to regulate gun ownership and promote a multi-billion dollar industry in its effort to sell as many guns as possible to as many people as possible.
I acknowledge that violence in our society is a complex problem, but I do believe that the proliferation of gun ownership is one component and that the NRA plays a major role in this area. I am not wise enough to know the solutions that will solve all the many problems that contribute to the violence, but I encourage an open and civil discourse with regards the state’s obligation to control the “who, what and where” of gun ownership.
By the way, I loved Greg Banks’ “Sound Off.”