LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Amendments matter; don’t weaken them
I fear you've made a major error in setting up the Feb. 7 Viewpoints page and I wanted to bring it to your attention.
At the very bottom of the page, you've printed the First Amendment to the Constitution, the right to a free press. I congratulate you for your pride of that freedom, and I can assure you that all Americans share that pride and will strive to defend it.
However, it is most upsetting that just above that paragraph, you've chosen to reprint an editorial column from the Gainesville Sun which urges the state Legislature to weaken the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, "the right to keep and bear arms." Can you please tell me which part "shall not be infringed" you did not understand?
While we all agree we do not wish to allow firearms in the hands of those who may abuse them, we vehemently disagree with adding additional burdens on those good citizens who wish to purchase them for totally legal use.
Rather, I would urge you to endorse legislation that, instead, would mandate maximum sentencing for those who utilize a firearm in the commission of a crime. Or, if you truly wish to close a dangerous "loophole," may I suggest you endorse a law which mandates that anyone who has been documented as having been treated for a serious mental illness have their name added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NICS).
Many recent mass shootings have occurred simply because this information was not available at the time of a gun purchase, which, of course, they then passed.
It never ceases to amaze me how influential Mr. Bloombergs or Mr. Soros' money can be in swaying the opinions of some politicians on this important and dangerous issue. I do sincerely believe, however, that these weak elected officials will not be in office much longer.
In closing, I simply wish to restate that I find it particularly upsetting and most hypocritical for a newspaper to proudly note their support for one constitutional amendment while, on the same page, endorse the weakening of another, and equally important, sacred amendment.
I firmly believe that should the Second Amendment disappear, your coveted First Amendment won't be far behind. Please consider that.
William Lloyd, Panama City Beach