Tahlequah Daily Press

May 8, 2013

In defense of the 2nd


TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

There are four reasons why I am against a mandated background check to purchase a weapon. The first is how I read the Second Amendment: “...shall not be infringed..” means that Congress does not have any authority over “arms.” I do not believe a body of fallible men and women should have that kind of authority.

The Second Amendment is another safeguard set in place to balance power among the federal and state government and the individual. It is not equivalent to say the government is made “of, by and for the people” and the government is the people. If that were the case, we wouldn’t need any separation or balance of powers. We have also seen how little influence the people can have on government actions. The Second Amendment is to be the last bastion of defense for the individual.

I know they say there will be no gun registry. I don’t believe it. Everything we do now leaves a footprint. That kind of information will be made available. The increased background checks are meant to regulate every gun trade. I am against such an expansion of federal power into the individual’s life. Doing background checks would now be required for private transactions. If I sell a gun to a friend, it is no business of the federal government’s.

And the most challenging aspect is. what we are looking for in the background check? The underlying problem with this is we are now asking permission to exercise a right. Will the government grant me permission to own a firearm under its set of standards? You don’t ask permission for rights; they are exercised simply by existing.

The most prominent aspect of the background check is the question of mental capacity. The troubling aspect for me is the wiggle room in the mental capacity question. There is too much room for subjective decisions. As a veteran who has been diagnosed with mental issues related to a head injury, I could very easily be denied my right to own a weapon. Veterans are the most vulnerable when it comes to this line of thinking. I find that very difficult to accept.

Service members are screened more thoroughly during and after service, increasing the chance for errors. They are more likely to develop service-related mental issues that are short-term, but could be viewed as a long-term deterrent to owning a weapon. The government’s denying veterans their right to bear arms, or any right, is a big step in the wrong direction.

Ultimately, it comes down to trust. And in today’s political climate, I have little trust in the federal government. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Mike Stopp

Cherokee County Republican Party