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Brewer at the Legislature: Constitutional right to protect oneself and othersTell North Platte what you think
 
Photo by Nebraska Unicameral
Tom Brewer

As you know from last week’s column, I had a chance to attend my high school reunion in Gordon. I was also able to attend the “Ride the Ridge” event in Crawford and I was honored to walk with other senators in the Nebraskaland Days Parade in North Platte.

Being on the Nebraska Justice System Oversight Committee, I’ll be touring the Tecumseh Correctional Center next week, followed by the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.  

I was on the Chris Baker Radio program on KFAB this week. I suggested we pass a law that would allow senators and staff to be armed. This has generated some interest. This idea was prompted by the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice last week in Washington, D.C.

I asked a question in last week’s column; why is the 2nd amendment the only constitutional amendment people need to get permission from the government to exercise?

Think about that a minute.

Did the newspaper you are reading right now need to get permission from the government to publish this edition, or did the 1st amendment protect their right to do so?

Did my daughter need to get permission from the government to vote in the last election, or did the 19th amendment protect her right to do so?

Do I need permission from the government to be represented by an attorney in court, or does the 6th amendment guarantee that I have that right?

Our constitutional rights are so important, every elected official in the country, from state senators to the President, all swear an oath to “support and defend” the Constitution, so when various people and groups and the government itself do things that interfere with the full and free exercise of those rights, I get very, very concerned.

The 2nd amendment is every bit as important as any one of the others. It doesn’t have an * next to it indicating this right can only be exercised in certain, limited circumstances prescribed by the government.

There are a number of people that are absolutely convinced that the presence of a law-abiding citizen with a gun somehow magically increases the likelihood of someone suddenly turning into a bloodthirsty criminal.

This fear is irrational and is not supported by the facts. The opposite condition is actually true. A law-abiding citizen with a gun is no more of a threat to the public than a law-abiding citizen without a gun.

Tens of thousands of Nebraskans carry a concealed gun with them out in public every day. Where’s the evidence that the mere presence of a gun is inherently threating to public safety?

Last year, there were about 14,000 murders with guns in the U.S. At the same time, there were more than 2 million “defensive gun uses” where a gun owner stopped or prevented a potentially violent crime, many without firing a shot.

That amounts to at least hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) incidents where harm to good people was averted.

There are people that simply refuse to accept the fact that the private ownership of guns by law abiding citizens saves more lives each year than the criminal use of guns cost.

People who do not like guns are not required to own or carry one. Those who wish to depend on the many laws we already have, the police, and prominent signage announcing gun prohibitions in certain places are certainly free to do so, but their personal beliefs and philosophy should not be forced on someone else, and most certainly should not deprive another law-abiding citizen of their constitutional rights and inherent, inalienable right of self-protection.

That condition is as un-American as it is immoral. My rights end where yours begin and vice versa.

In this day and age, where the political discourse has become so toxic that silencing the voice of the opposition now includes shooting people, I think prudence demands I take steps to protect myself and my staff.

A trained, law-abiding citizen having a gun and not needing it is a far better proposition than needing a gun and not having it.

Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at tbrewer@leg.ne.gov or call us at (402) 471-2628.


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 7/3/2017
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