Roanoke Times "loophole" Op / Ed....


jackie treehorn
December 19, 2008, 03:32 PM

You can discuss it here:

Bradford B. Wiles

Wiles, of New Castle, is a graduate student at Virginia Tech.

The gun-show loophole is a red herring. Abby Spangler's group Protest Easy Guns, The Brady Center and The Roanoke Times editorial board continually rail against private sales at gun shows as something that needs to be reformed after the Virginia Tech tragedy. There is absolutely no connection between the two, and while they may subtly acknowledge it, they still play the wonderful game of "what if?"

What if, so they say, Cho hadn't been able to pass a background check? He would have just gone to a gun show and gotten his gun there. So what if he had to have a background check there? Is there no other way to get a gun?

New readers of The Roanoke Times may not be aware, but the newspaper used to print classified ads for guns. It doesn't now because of its anti-gun position, but who am I to complain about the paper shooting itself in the foot (pun intended) by losing revenue from honest citizens? In Virginia, private sales between individuals are legal and should remain so, regardless of location.

If we extend the logic of closing the gun-show loophole, then all private sales will eventually require a background check. I can already hear Spangler crying, "But he could have gotten his guns from the classifieds!" So then you have de facto gun registration for law-abiding citizens, which has been used for confiscation in almost every instance of its use, and you place an undue burden on good citizens.

While The Times writes, "Lawmakers who hope to tighten the state's gun show regulations should make it clear that the change would be narrowly focused," history shows that gun control is never narrowly focused. The board also suggests that the buyer pay for a background check so it's not a burden for the seller. They conveniently suggest that the burden be on the buyer, but that still leaves a burden, and one that only affects law-abiding citizens.

So what do we do to make sure a Virginia Tech catastrophe does not happen again? We can start by extending the logic of the Supreme Court's ruling in D.C. v. Heller. The foundation of this landmark decision is that humans have a pre-existing (before government) right to self-defense.

Students, faculty and staff's fundamental right to defend themselves does not end when they cross the street onto campus. We should be able to protect ourselves from people who would do us harm. The current policy is based on the honor system, and thugs and criminals do not honor the system. We cannot stop criminals from coming to campus, but we could, if given the choice, be able to defend ourselves from them. If we recognize self-defense as the fundamental right that it is, we can go a long way in preventing people from doing us harm.

To be clear, I am not advocating for the arming of anyone, just the choice to be armed. Around the Independence Day holiday I was asked what freedom means to me. My answer was choice. Free people have the ability to choose. I choose to have the ability to protect myself in the vast majority of the commonwealth and several other states.

As a free individual, I would like to have that choice wherever I go, especially at a public institution such as Virginia Tech, which should be bound by public law and the commonwealth and U.S. constitutions in recognizing our inherent right to self-defense.

The gun-show loophole is a red herring, a diversion from real policies that can make a difference. Please urge your representatives to place freedom and choice above strict restrictions and "feel-good" legislation.

Spangler, The Roanoke Times and the Brady Center all have one thing in common: They do not care about the consequences for law-abiding citizens. They don't buy guns so they do not care about burdens on us. People shouldn't have guns, in their view, so making it even more difficult to obtain one is all the better.

For those of us who use rational thought and believe that laws should be based on logic and not emotion, the so-called gun-show loophole is misdirected emotion and a distraction from the real issue of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

On April 16, 2007, the university's policy refusing to recognize our fundamental right to self-defense compounded the tragedy. This is the real issue at hand and gun shows have nothing to do with it.

Hope you enjoy and participate in the round table blog.

Jackie Treehorn

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