What’s next after background checks?

There has been much debate regarding guns. Gun control advocates often cite the need for new laws to protect our children. What we need to do is to protect everyone — including children. Debate is a good thing, but it should be honest debate. The failed U.S. Senate Bill 649 did not have honest debate. Support was generated because it focused on publicizing SB 649 as “harmless, mild-measure” registration/background checks.

Some people charged that the National Rifle Association (NRA) was opposed to background checks, thus jeopardizing our children’s safety. Not so. NRA members like me for years have agreed to background checks when we applied for our concealed weapon permits.

SB 649’s provisions went beyond registration and background checks, which was a reason that I opposed the bill. It contained a provision allowing the U.S. attorney general to add further regulations. What these regulations could cover was vague, and that was a concern.

SB 649 also provided that if, for example, I gave my grandson a firearm, and years later could not prove that the gun transfer was a legal “free” gift, I could be convicted of a crime and sentenced to 15 years in prison — 25 years if the government elected to tack on a “RICO” provision to really scare me.

I am continually amazed at how many people have forgotten the history of how government has passed laws meting out extreme punishments for what had been lawful common activity by their ancestors.

Unfortunately, if I am confronted in a life-or-death situation — whether it involves a gun or otherwise — I will be my own “first responder.” I will probably be my only responder until the situation is resolved. It would be nice if I could use my cell phone and dial 911 in time, but that is unlikely.

Celebrities, politicians and other gun control proponents are quick to count numbers killed by a gun, but rarely do they report on lives saved because citizens have effective means to protect themselves. Actions, such as the manner in which SB 649 was presented, cause me to be suspicious of any governmental alteration of the Second Amendment.

If Congress has the authority to modify the Second Amendment simply by passing a law, how far can it go to also abridge freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government? It is important to fight for our constitutional rights. The Second Amendment may not be precious to you, but it is only a matter of time before someone tries to take away rights that are precious to you.

Paul Rice is a Covington real estate agent and gun owner.

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