It is always great to hear from so many about my writings and what’s on your minds. Recently our Second Amendment rights have been the hot topic. The proposed Ordinance 371 in Loyalsock Township has prompted many to reach out to me, as has the recent cowardly and despicable act that took place at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. A couple things in common with everyone I talked with were the despair and sorrow for the victims and their families. This gave way to concern and anger over Mr. Obama's response and use of tragedy to push his liberal views before the victims were memorialized.
The Democratic debate last week, again, brought Americans’ gun rights to the forefront. One gentleman that called me hit the nail right on the head when it comes to Mr. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, "The only ones they want to have guns are the criminals." That pretty much sums up the liberal’s lack of respect for the law abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
I know you have read this before on page 2 but I must emphatically state it again. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. There was not one gun on any of the hijacked planes of 9/11. The evil Islamic perpetrators used box cutters and jet airliners to kill 3,000 innocent people. Before that date most of us would have never thought these two combined could be used for such evil.
An individual who wants to kill the innocent and unarmed will always find a weapon and a way. As far as using a gun to commit the act, do you really think someone with an evil agenda or that is mentally deranged wouldn't steal or illegally obtain the firearm needed to commit the crime?
Gun laws in Mr. Obama's hometown of Chicago are some of the toughest, yet they have one of the highest numbers of homicides by firearm. Gun laws in our state are more than adequate. But it's like the saying goes; locks only keep honest people honest. If a criminal wants a gun they are not going to do the paperwork and acquire it legally.
The liberal democrats insult every law-abiding, God-fearing citizen of our great Country by attacking our Second Amendment rights clearly provided by our Constitution. Even more ridiculous are their claims that gun control would decrease crime. It is flat out disgraceful that Mr. Obama and his liberal arrogance uses American tragedy as an opportunity to push their poppycock.
The liberal gun control crowd will never get it. Having a gun does not secure personal safety it only provides an opportunity to protect oneself, family or potential innocent victims. All our government from local to federal needs to focus on is this. The innocent protect and the criminals kill.
Now onto the proposed Ordinance 371 in Loyalsock Township. This received national attention from the NRA. This measure would prohibit anyone from shooting within 150 yards of any occupied house or dwelling unless in lawful self-defense. In addition the proposal could impose a fine of up to $1,000 per violation or 30 days in jail.
I ran into the right man to fill me in on said proposal, Loyalsock Township Supervisor Marc Sortman. I've known Mr. Sortman from our days at Loyalsock High School. He has always been a strong commonsense, conservative gentleman. He does a fine job for the Loyalsock Township. I was surprised when I began to get calls about Prop 371. It just didn't fit Mr. Sortman and our Township’s Board.
First, let me state that Pennsylvania State law already provides a "safety zone" restricting discharge of a firearm within 150 yards of an occupied building. A landowner can permit hunting or target shooting within 150 yards of their property if they so desire.
First question I asked Mr. Sortman was what prompted the creation of Prop 371? "The most important issue is the safety of all Township residents. Some are not using good old-fashioned commonsense when it comes to the safety of their neighbors. Although much of Prop 371 is already PA law, the real intention was to bring attention to a growing problem in the township and have open discussion before a tragedy occurs."
I then asked if is it the intention to limit hunting and target shooting on private property where this has occurred for decades?
"Absolutely not. If you have the 150-yard perimeter there is no change. If you live in a rural area of the Township there is no change. Our concerns are more residential areas where we have problems. I would like to see those exercising their Second Amendment rights police their own ranks with the use of common sense. Simple consideration of your location and the safe use of a gun is what is most important."
I understand Mr. Sortman’s concerns and even if you are 151 yards from a backyard and swingset within the lawful perimeter, common sense and caring about your fellow man has to take precedence.
"Jim, we are not going to infringe on anyone's rights, but the fact is a bullet can travel much further than 150 yards and the problems we have would only receive the attention needed if approached in this manner. The boundaries of our Township provide some most difficult scenarios."
Mr. Sortman and the township board of supervisors are only trying to do the best job for the citizens of Loyalsock. I have no doubt they will reach the right decision. I know most personally and can assure they are not the type of folks to step on the toes of the Second Amendment.
There is no bigger believer in our Second Amendment rights than myself. We all must make sure we are as passionate about gun safety as we are about the use and freedom to own firearms. There is really no need for Ordinance 371, only the practicing of common sense and gun safety. One thing that is definite however, you can't legislate either one. Let's all be careful out there and respect and preserve our great Nation.
God Bless America.