- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In his “Political Theater” column Jan. 14 (“Why you’re right to hate both parties”) Joseph Curl uses examples of “two horrible things” to illustrate why he hates both political parties. I believe, however, his example of why he currently hates the Republican Party is flawed.

Mr. Curl brings up the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School school shooting and the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting. He writes that both shooters were carrying AR-15s, a civilian version of an M-16, the war weapon of choice for many years, and that in the Colorado incident, the shooter had a 100-round magazine. Mr. Curl agrees with the Democrats that these guns and all like them should be outlawed because no one needs an AR-15 to hunt rabbits, and the fact that they can do such damage in the hands of the wrong people outweighs any right to own them.

This argument fails to hold water for several reasons. First of all, our rights are not given to us by the government, so it is not for the government to take them away, or in any way whittle them down to what one party or another deems reasonable. Second, if these kinds of weapons don’t belong in the hands of certain people, who will decide what people should or should not own them? On what factors will this decision be based?

Finally — and most importantly — the sole purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow citizens to hold weapons necessary to defend themselves against their government, to form militias and fight to preserve their constitutional rights should the elected government encroach on them. The men who crafted our founding documents had spent most of their lives under the authority of a king. In school they had learned of the English civil war and in America they had lived through the Revolutionary War. They knew about runaway governments that trampled people’s rights and freedoms, and they believed that every citizen had a right to defend against attempts at despotism. We should take that right very seriously and defend it vigorously. History can turn on the number of rounds in a magazine.

DEBRA STEVENSON

Fairfax