UNION COUNTY — More than 60 percent of the participants in an online poll conducted by The Union Daily Times believe the possession of assault rifles and body should not be limited to members of law enforcement and the military.
The massacre at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 12, 2012, reignited the debate over gun control and a concurrent debate over how to best secure America’s schools to prevent a recurrence of such atrocities. The steps proposed in the massacre’s aftermath range from bans on assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons and large ammunition clips to putting armed guards in every school and/or allow teachers and principals to carry guns on campus.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states that “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.” The amendment, which was adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, was not controversial when it was ratified because it was seen as a means of ensuring the public had the means to resist governmental tyranny of the kind American had experienced in the final years of British rule.
More than 200 years after the Second Amendment was ratified, the U.S Supreme Court ruled in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller that it protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected to service in a militia. In 2010 in McDonald v. Chicago, the court ruled that in regards to a persons right to possess a firearm, the Second Amendment applies to local and state governments just as it does the federal government.
Despite a lack of controversy at the time it was ratified and the recent rulings by the Supreme Court, the Second Amendment has become a source of controversy in recent decades, especially in the aftermath of massacres like those at Sandy Hook. Gun control proponents often use such incidents as justification for their calls for the curtailing of gun ownership with the underlying argument that the Second Amendment is archaic, particularly in the light of increased firepower of modern weaponry.
One of those who rejects the curtailing of the public’s Second Amendment rights is Union County Sheriff David Taylor who, in an interview shortly after the massacre, said that proposed bans on assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and large ammunition clips would not prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook. He pointed out that someone who is proficient in the use of a weapon can quickly reload it and continue firing regardless of the size of the clips they are using. Taylor, who described himself as a gun advocate, said that banning guns would leave law-abiding citizens disarmed in the face of criminals who will ignore such bans and continue to arm themselves.
Though opposed to gun control, Taylor said he does not believe persons outside law enforcement or the military should have access to assault rifles or body armor.
While Taylor believes that only law enforcement or military personnel should access to assault rifles and body armor, more that 60 percent of those who took part in an online poll conducted by The Union Daily Times oppose such limitations.
Posted on The Union Daily Times website (www.uniondailytimes.com), the poll asked, “The massacre in Connecticut has reignited the debate over gun control. While he does not favor gun control, Union County Sheriff David Taylor has said he does not believe persons outside law enforcement and the military should have access to assault rifles or body armor. Should possession of assault rifles and body armor be limited to law enforcement and military personnel?”
Of the 38 people who took part in the poll, only 39 percent agreed that possession of assault rifles and body armor should be limited to law enforcement and military personnel while 61 percent disagreed.
This week’s online poll asks whether or not people who purchase guns should be required to undergo background checks and training programs. The polls asks,” Since the school massacre in Connecticut there has been much talk about banning assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons, and large ammunition clips. As a possible alternative, Union Public Safety Director Sam White has suggested that persons who buy any type of gun through any venue including stores, gun shows, and private sales be required to undergo background checks and gun training and safety programs. Should persons who buy guns be required to undergo background checks and gun training and safety programs?”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.