TYRINGHAM

The commonwealth’s gun control regulations are themselves a paradox, creating an undue burden for the disadvantaged on one hand and unintended, sometimes deadly results on the other. Obeying the law, we rarely think about the consequences of owning a firearm. It has been stated that there are more gun owners in Berkshire County than either registered Democrats or Republicans. There is a proposal in the legislature to further tighten access to firearms in our state. Local residents have a vested interest in current and future restrictions and regulations imposed on their right to posses firearms.

We have heard, "If gun control worked, Chicago would be like Mayberry." "Guns are like parachutes, we may only need one once and if we do not have it we will never need it again." Massachusetts licensing procurement is one of the most stringent in the United States. License application is sought at our local police station where we are scrutinized and profiled as to what we deserve a license for. Without criminal or mental history we qualify to be trained and carry a firearm. We pay for a training certificate and a $100 license fee. If refused, we can request a hearing before the local court for judicial determination. Imagine if we did this for 100 mph vehicle operation or receiving habit-forming prescription narcotics? The latter two, drugs and cars, kill thousands every year.

There are costs, often quite expensive for firearms, ammunition and licensing. The costs are discriminatory and unaffordable for many, only accessible to those having several hundred dollars. The expense punishes the poor, yet in this instance it is deemed acceptable. The irony is poor people are more subject to crime because of the environment they live in. When the costs of gun ownership rise that segment of society is very limited in their decisions. We are upset when they remain unlicensed and buy cheap illegal guns. Another social consequence of being poor, the government will never subsidize firearm ownership.

Is a firearm necessary? So many profess it is not. The epitome of safety is standing beside a police officer because he has a gun and is trained. There is not a more noble profession. The limitation of police is that they cannot be everywhere all the time and most of the time they are completely reactionary to events. They arrive in time to summon an ambulance, photograph the crime scene, or conduct the investigation.

n

The proactive side of police work is ever changing; whatever criminal opportunity exists, the unsavory will seek to take advantage. It can be devastating to be a victim and deprived of governmental protection, or any protection. A firearm is not necessary for everyone but vital for many.

Society discourages firearm exposure for our children, while at the same time we increase the exposure to marijuana, a gateway drug to further substance abuse. Marijuana possession was one reason for restricting firearms’ licenses. By decriminalizing it, previously denied firearm ownership applicants could now be eligible. Will the people so restricted be applying for gun licenses? What a collateral effect, as we decriminalize drugs we make more drug-using citizens eligible for the gun rights they were denied.

Mental health disclosure is a portion of firearms’ safety. Liberalizing mental health disorder restrictions, not recognizing the danger to society has been disastrous. Labeling a disorder was not politically correct but it was a lot safer, a social consequence.

The left’s amnesty push for illegal aliens may ultimately backfire. The National Rifle Association is expecting a huge membership increase. More people granted citizenship and the "right to bear arms." Having been deprived of personal protection in their previous country, they will welcome their new constitutional right to bear arms. Adamant new gun owners may change the vote in ways we can only imagine. Overline-

Right From The Berkshires