Opinion: Senate gun bill a sensible plan to protect Vermonters

On Feb. 10, a public hearing was held at the Statehouse to discuss requiring background checks for people purchasing firearms in Vermont. This is an important issue for all Vermonters.
In 1689, one hundred years before America’s independence, the English Bill of Rights already established the right for citizens to bear firearms. The Second Amendment just codified what every American already knew, that Americans have the right to own firearms. No one is suggesting that this right be repealed.
However, as the Supreme Court has indicated, the right to own firearms does not mean that anyone can carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for any purpose whatsoever. Rational limitations are acceptable; after all, carrying a bazooka should not be considered a reasonable means of self-defense.
In spite of what the NRA and some fanatic gun-toting hotheads may say, some limitations on gun ownership are justified. Convicted felons, mentally disturbed individuals and convicted spousal abusers should not own firearms. A reasonable person can support rational limitation on gun ownership while still owning guns. This is not contradictory.
Background checks on non-family members purchasing firearms is a reasonable method to help assure the buyer is a law-abiding citizen and law-abiding citizens do not object to having background checks performed. After all, it is only by the roll of the dice that a felon or mentally disturbed individual doesn’t use a gun to harm your spouse, children or grandchildren. Ask the people in Newtown, Conn.
Terry Amrhein

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