Kimberly Edson lives in Rochester, Minnesota. She watched a man walk by her home escorting his two daughters to school. He was wearing a gun, visible for all to see. A battle ensued forcing the issue of second amendment rights vs. first amendment rights. Another case of guns vs. free speech.
After several days, the weapon was no longer visible. Edson was concerned about guns being near or on school grounds. She felt everyone should know that he was armed. She placed a sign in her front yard revealing that the man, Matthew Halleck, was carrying a loaded gun in the elementary school’s vicinity. The sign also had his picture on it.
Halleck has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but Edson is concerned about the existence of dangerous weapons near a school. Halleck insists the gun is for his and his daughters’ protection.
Halleck insists that he has a right under the second amendment to carry a loaded weapon. Edson says she is exercising her right of free speech under the first amendment, and feels a responsibility to inform the community. Halleck says that he is considering a lawsuit claiming libel.
In reality, this is another example of a nation which lives in fear. The good qualities America used to revere were faith, trust, and respect for our fellow man. They have been replaced or subdued.
After the Sandy Hook massacre, and the argument about gun legislation once again exploded onto the scene, the ‘Journal News’ published a map of every gun owner in the two counties around the school. The NRA became involved and claimed the first amendment rights of those who possessed a permit to have a gun were being violated. Connecticut has a public record law which allows the records to be made public. In Idaho, it is unlawful to publish such records.
Disagreement continues between the two sides of the issue. It is unlikely that a solution will ever be found. The gun lobby, the NRA, continues to make false and fearful statements about the necessity of a fully armed nation, and misuse the true meaning of the second amendment. Those who advocate legislation regarding the control of certain types of guns and ammunition believe it is their right to expose the existence of dangerous weapons in their communities. They point to the first amendment.
Not one patriotic American denies the second amendment and the right of reputable individuals to possess guns. Background checks for all gun purchases are not in conflict with the second amendment. In addition, when it was written none of our founding fathers could have foreseen the invention of assault rifles and other weapons which can fire hundreds of bullets in seconds.
Americans live in a constant state of fear. Gun owners say that they fear criminals. The other side fears people with guns. Reading incidents about people going about their everyday lives becoming shot and killed makes them afraid to go grocery shopping, attend a movie, or assemble in almost any public place, including their church. It’s all about guns vs. free speech and feeling safe.
The correct answer to the situation is simple, but difficult to achieve; use common sense. Facing the truth might be effective as well.
By James Turnage