Opinion: Unreasonable gun laws threaten American Freedom

I grew up in a small farm town in central Connecticut. In seventh grade, afriend introduced me to target shooting. I joined the National Rifle Association and practiced for years in a basement range beneath a building in the south end of town.
Most of the members were men in their 40s or50s. They became mentors to me, teaching me about patience and precision, how to shoulder a little pain and focus my attention. They were good role models. There was a camaraderie there that I enjoyed as I learned from this older generation of men.
A generation later, one of my boys tookhunter safety from men like this. He learned how to safely use a firearm, to respect landowners’ property, and the laws and traditions of hunting.
These traditions have nothing to do with the unchecked and unreasonableproliferation of assault rifles, armor-piercing ammunition, concealable man-killing handguns, and automatic weaponry that the NRA leadership promotes today. NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre and his cronies try to terrify their membership with claims that the government wants to take away their ability to defend themselves and to practice the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Meanwhile, according to The New York Times, there have been 354 mass shootings inthe U.S. this year.
I recognize the right of citizens to protect themselves — in fact, I wasglad to have a rifle at my camp in the Adirondacks when two prisoners were on the loose not long ago. But the Second Amendment must be balanced with our even more fundamental right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” guaranteed as an inalienable right in our Declaration of Independence.
Yet this basic right to life was violated for 406,496 people who died fromfirearms in the U.S. between 2001 and 2013. In comparison, 3,380 died from acts of terrorism. Most of these died in one tragic event on 9/11 (CNN).
So what is Wayne LaPierre really defending? Perhaps his million-dollarsalary and his personal and paranoid ideology. In fact, his unreasonable resistance to reasonable firearm legislation may be one of the greatest threats to our freedom as Americans.
Harry Chaucer
New Haven

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