- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

As a hunter, target shooter and homeowner who will not hesitate to defend his family with a firearm if the need arises, I am more than a little disturbed when I hear the anti-gun drivel spouted by certain aspirants to elective office.
Sure, it is every American's own business how he or she pulls a voting lever or connects the broken arrow that points to a favorite candidate's name, as is the case in my home county in Maryland. But what we should all be concerned about during the current campaigns is the astonishing amount of selective democracy practiced by some of those seeking your vote.
Imagine, there are several congressional candidates in Maryland whose television campaign commercials boast how they would enjoy fighting with and defeating the National Rifle Association.
Don't let the rhetoric fool you. It isn't the NRA that these people are so concerned about. No, the NRA is simply the most visible defender of the Second Amendment to the Constitution the right to keep and bear arms. The anti-NRAers hope to get rid of guns. Period.
In spite of what such great constitutional "experts" as Rosie O'Donnell and Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, believe the Second Amendment to mean (they apparently know more about the subject than the Supreme Court), it is an undeniable truth that Americans have the constitutional right to own a gun. It distinctly sets us apart from every other country in the world.
Yes, there are some that will let you have a gun, but the government has the final say on the matter not you. I should know.
I was born in a country Germany that turned the confiscation of firearms into a brutally fine art during the 1930s and '40s. Do not even for a moment believe that it was done to make German streets safer.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, the Constitution never says a word about us having to be fingerprinted, registered and otherwise policed by eager beaver law enforcement officials, but a number of state, city and county jurisdictions in this land already have enacted severe restrictions on the ownership of guns all guns, including the ones we hunters use afield or on a shooting range.
Sadly, the very people who have no trouble trampling the Second Amendment, the one they fear for some reason, probably would lie down and die to protect the First Amendment, the right to speak freely.
Shame on everyone who would ignore certain portions of a document a great majority of Americans holds sacred, the people who pick and choose what they like about it, besmirching one and worshipping another.
Instead of turning the NRA and its reminders of the value of the Second Amendment into an ogre that needs to be defeated, the organization should be held in the highest esteem.
So I hope you voted for whomever you preferred. I know I did. But before I voted, I made sure to ask the candidates how they stood on a number of subjects, especially the one that gives me the right to own a firearm. That right should remain firmly in place until the American people insist on a constitutional convention and a majority of the states changes the amendment.
Until then, don't brag about how you enjoy fighting with people who want to protect a basic American freedom.
Fishing guides unhappy with Park Service Everybody in these parts knows there is a small number of fishing guides who ply the waters of the upper, freshwater portions of Maryland's Potomac River generally from above the Seneca Breaks in Montgomery County upstream to Knoxville in Washington County and the general Harpers Ferry, W.Va., area. But few of these state-licensed but limited-income men (no one becomes wealthy from running guided fishing trips) knew that the federal government's National Park Service requires a $300 business permit if you plan to launch a guide boat anywhere along the C&O; Canal National Historical Park. That means from Georgetown to Cumberland, Md. The sole exception is the public boat ramp in Brunswick, Md.
To further rub salt into the wounds of the fishing guides, when you apply for the license and enclose your $300 check and you're turned down for some reason, the government keeps $100 and all you get back is $200. Hardly sounds fair, does it? Here's betting that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are spinning in their graves.
Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected].

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