To the editor:
I feel compelled to respond to Mr. Fisher's Jan. 23 letter "British perspective on gun ownership offered." Having defended our freedoms and way of life for 40 years, I never thought I would have to defend them here in Lewistown.
Approximately 73 years ago many Americans felt an empathy to the people of the United Kingdom. These Americans donated personal weapons of all kinds so that Mr. Fisher's countrymen and women would have the opportunity to defend themselves since they had no Constitution, Second Amendment or personal weapons.
1. Law enforcement is seldom in the proximity of crime. The police are needed in seconds and arrive in minutes, if one is lucky. We don't depend on luck. Our way of life leads us toward self reliance. You know that "old cowboy spirit" that people the world over find intriguing and sometimes emulate. Our armed forces defend our freedoms daily and protect us, but are far too engaged to patrol neighborhoods, and would choose not to. We can protect ourselves when the need arises.
2. How much land is available for hunting in the U.K.? Phrases like landed gentry and driven pheasant hunts come to mind. Remember, the U.K. is a 94,000 square mile group of islands, while the United States is part of a continent 3.8 million square miles in area. Hunting is a chosen way of life. By the way, hunters here do much for conservation with volunteer work and funds, thereby allowing many animal species, game and non-game, to prosper.
3. The term "God given right" is an overarching term. Our concept is that God, however an individual chooses to identify with and believe in, is a basic premise in our Constitution. By the way, no one signed the Second Amendment. The Bill of Rights and Constitution were signed by a group of very brave and farseeing men.
Mr. Fisher, you are from a country that is currently ruled by a queen, a birthright, who has not been elected. We, here in the colonies decided that having kings and queens to be a bad idea. We cherish the right to make choices. At times we may make the wrong choice, but at least we have the opportunity to do so. Guns have always been a significant part of America. It appears that people much more intelligent and eloquent than I believed that all forms and levels of government bore considerable scrutiny and were not all that trustworthy. The gun is a tool, a deterrent, and should not be blamed for its misuse by the misguided.
I do find it refreshing that you have grasped the concept of the First Amendment. Now, let's work on the rest.