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Opinion

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More restrictive gun laws are not the answer to Newtown's tragedy

As a father, I grieve with the rest of the country at the senseless loss of children's lives and the waste of human potential such tragedies represent. But I also refuse to remain silent and allow the elites and opportunists of the moment to take advantage of our collective grief and manipulate it for their own ends ("Teary Obama calls for action after massacre," Dec. 15).

More restrictive gun laws are not the answer. If that logic prevailed, cars would be surrounded by inflatable bumpers and go no faster than 20 mph, household chemicals would be banned, and one would need a license from social services to have children.

Some say it's not about taking away people's hunting rifles or shotguns, but rather that there is no need for civilians to possess military-style firearms. Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in decrying so-called "assault weapons," said "you can't hunt deer with an AR-15."

I understand his passion, but his statement, like much out of the gun control lobby, misses the most fundamental point of the Second Amendment.

The Founding Fathers understood the need of an armed citizenry to prevent tyranny. During the Congressional debates, James Madison discussed how an armed populace could help defend liberty against tyranny and oppression. And Thomas Jefferson wrote that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Government is coercive by nature and enables the majority to impose its wishes on other groups by force. In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers placed the Second Amendment in our Constitution to provide an unalienable right for citizens to protect and preserve their liberty when the government was no longer of the people, by the people, and for the people.

One has only to look at the post 9/11 state of affairs to see how our freedoms have been corrupted: Strip searches of grandmothers at airports, warrantless wiretaps, the lack of judicial review for drone attacks against American citizens whom the president deems to be an enemy of the state, and an administration that circumvents the rule oflaw regarding immigration enforcement via executive fiat.

Though I grieve as a patriotic American and responsible gun owner, I will not be silent and bow down to those who would take advantage this tragedy to undermine our fundamental rights. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Evil will always exists in the hearts and minds of men, and it cannot be legislated away. Freedom isn't free. Sacrifices for the preservation of liberty are not just paid for by our brave men and women in uniform. Maintaining our freedom sometimes imparts a terrible cost.

This may provide little comfort to those who lost loved ones in this and other tragedies. But it is what I believe and what I will defend, even in my grief.

John Franchy, Severn

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