Editor’s note: Due to an editing error this letter was incomplete in Wednesday’s Daily Journal.
To the editor:
The following is an open letter which I have sent to my representative on the Johnson County Board of Commissioners, Mr. Tom Kite.
As a 12-year resident of Johnson County Commissioner District 2, I would like to voice my disapproval with the commissioners’ initial passing of the Ordinance Regarding Federal Infringement on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Nullifying all Federal Acts in Violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Please continue reading as I briefly state my reasoning.
Debate at the federal, state and local levels of government, regarding who can own/operate weapons has been and will continue to be a healthy engagement of ideas. Restricting that debate by attempting to pre-emptively nullify federal legislation is essentially a violation of our First Amendment right of free speech. By the Commissioners’ misguided attempt to support one piece of the Constitution, they trample upon another piece.
When my high school-age daughters brought up the topic of the proposed ordinance, the first conclusion they came to was that it was a violation of the Constitution’s Article VI, specifically the Supremacy Clause. “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States… shall be the supreme Law of the Land; ... Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” Once again, the proposed ordinance chooses to ignore one piece of the Constitution in an attempt to support another.
I personally enjoy my right “to keep and bear Arms.” I absolutely would be against any legislation that would attempt to sweep away this right. However I do acknowledge that the government has the right, and the obligation, to regulate the types of weapons made available to the market as well as to determine that dangerous and/or mentally unstable individuals should not be a part of that marketplace.
When we teach our children about guns, the very first lesson is always in safety.
As adults, and as citizens of the United States, we need to remember that gun safety isn’t merely about the mechanics of the gun. It also includes reasonably debated decisions regarding how guns are allowed to be a part of our society. Please do not vote to take away our right to engage in that debate.