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How did a Sheriff with this much common sense get elected in MA?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Drizzt, Dec 31, 2002.

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  1. Drizzt

    Drizzt Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Moscow on the Colorado, TX
    Reflections on right to bear arms



    Monday, December 30, 2002 -- "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." - Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
    It's 7 p.m. on a frosty night, but the lecturer for the firearms law class is jalapeno hot.

    "Same idiot judge in San Francisco ... he believes that an individual doesn't have the right to carry," exclaims Ed Fleury, Pelham's police chief, who is referring to Stephen Reinhardt, who sits on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Reinhardt is one of two judges of a three-member panel that ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

    Early this month, the 9th Circus, as Rush Limbaugh calls it, unanimously upheld the state of California's ban on assault weapons by claiming that individuals do not have the right to bear arms. "The historical record makes it equally plain that the (Second) amendment was not adopted in order to afford rights to individuals with respect to private gun ownership or possession," wrote Reinhardt.

    "It's quite clear what the Second Amendment is meant for. You've got to be an idiot to not acknowledge that people means people," ripostes Chief Fleury.

    These shoot-from-the-hip remarks are a sign that this basic firearms safety course won't be a dud.

    Since the passage of the Massachusetts Gun Control Act of 1998, new applicants for a gun license are required to receive such instruction. Chief Fleury, along with Sgt. Kevin Fournier, teach six or seven of classes a year. "We generally are running about 30 people a class, and we're doing it once a month," says the chief. There's no shortage of visual aids - everything from a cowboy pistol to a double-barreled shotgun.

    Tonight the student body is learning about the provisions in the state law that affect not just gun dealers and manufacturers, but the commonfolk. Chapter 180 of the Acts of 1998 is maddeningly unconstitutional. There are criminal penalties for not safely storing firearms, and there's the establishment of a four-year time limit on FID (Firearms Identification) cards.

    Local police chiefs have greater powers in deciding the suitability of a citizen to carry a gun license. The law also bans the sale of junk guns, known as Saturday Night Specials. But, "banning a certain type of gun," as the chief observes, "doesn't make crime go away."

    If you want an LTC (License to Carry), you must be fingerprinted and pay a fee. If a citizen wants to possess a "large capacity weapon" (those guns which can hold more than ten rounds of ammo), he must have a Class A LTC.

    After listening to section after section of the law explained, I have an unoriginal thought: Felons are already banned from possession of all firearms, so any new restrictions only curtail the rights of the lawful, right?

    Ed Fleury doesn't disagree: "The average person who wants to defend themself is penalized because of these little brats that misbehave. Because they are frustrated with their socio-economic status, they act out, and we suffer for it."

    Sgt. Fournier vocalizes the irony, "People who obey the special laws will follow every law that's put down, whether they agree with it or not."

    In spite of the hurdles to becoming a card-carrying gun owner in the Bay State, the men remain enthusiastic about seeing the citizenry, especially women, learn to confidently handle firearms. Several of the co-eds from the Mount Holyoke College chapter of the Second Amendment Sisters, in fact, have attended their gun safety classes, as well as participated in a Machine Gun Shoot and Show in Westfield that was organized by Chief Fleury.

    "An old-fashioned girl who does the needlepoint stuff tends to be a better target shooter than a big burly guy," says the chief,. And an armed, elderly female, with a steady hand, is no match for a predator.

    The Hadley-based organization known as L.A.R.G.O. (Lawful and Responsible Gun Owners) reports that a then 81-year-old Michigan woman prevented a burglar from raping her when she shot him with her late husband's .38.

    Criminologist Gary Kleck has found that there are over two million defensive gun uses (DGU's) per year in the United States, whereby a legally-armed individual (often a female) saves lives by stopping a violent crime.

    As basic as freedom of speech and religion is the American right to bear arms. Yet Massachusetts - the place where the "shot heard round the world" occurred - has what some describe as the "toughest" gun control law in the country. After attending Chief Fleury's seminar, I think that is no exaggeration. Bah! Humbug!

    Izzy Lyman lives in Amherst and writes a monthly column.

  2. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
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