Among my favorite hobbies over the past 30 years is target shooting with handguns, shotguns, and rifles. I enjoyed hunting in my youth, but other life activities led me in new directions, and I haven’t hunted since my high school and early college years. Eight years ago, I joined the National Rifle Association, a not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1871, because I was compelled to pick a side in the political fight over the Second Amendment. I felt that the federal, state governments and courts were not fulfilling their obligations in upholding two major Second Amendment Supreme Court decisions, Heller vs. District of Columbia (2008) and McDonald vs. Chicago in 2010. In Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms, like all amendments in the Bill of Rights is an individual right just like free speech, voting, due process and freedom from discrimination. McDonald ruled that this Second Amendment right was also protected under the due process clause of 14th Amendment and therefore enforceable against the states. These landmark decisions, welcomed by the Republicans and abhorred by the Democrats, represent one of the key issues — of which there seems to be no limit — dividing us nationally and locally. In my view this comes to an ugly head with the issue of mass shootings; scratch that; shootings period. On a daily basis the routine news cycle includes, to our collective dismay, the use of firearms to shoot and kill people. The dead and wounded […]
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