Archive for March 21st, 2011

March 21, 2011

Letter: New Laws Feel Good but Erode Basic Freedoms

As I campaigned for office last year I talked to a lot of folks concerned about the federal government’s slow but steady encroachment into our lives.

But here in Connecticut, that overreach from elected officials is more aggressive.

Our roster of legislative action this year is rife with reactionary proposals—many of them thinly veiled attempts to pursue personal agendas far adrift of the needs and opinions of the men and women whose tax dollars cover their salaries and benefits.

For an example, look no further than the Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday on S.B. 1094, An Act Banning Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines.

This proposal seeks to ban the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, and it would require law-abiding citizens who already own such cartridges to turn them over to authorities—or risk a felony charge and prison time.

The bill’s proponents will say their goal is to protect residents from gun-wielding criminals driven to commit murder. To make their point, they’ll resuscitate hysteria generated by headline grabbing police cases in other parts of the country—crimes driven by the perpetrator’s frame of mind and motivations rather than a gun.

People who commit such crimes are criminals and criminals, by definition, don’t care about laws. A person bent on shooting another won’t be deterred by an arbitrary—the 10 bullet limit—restriction shackled on the rights of law-abiding citizens who understand the responsibilities of gun ownership. If you think criminals will turn in their illegal weapons, then I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

How will this proposed ban make us safer if law-abiding citizens are the only people who dutifully march down to a police station to hand over their weapons?

It won’t, and the people who wrote and support this proposal know it. Their true target isn’t our guns, but our right to own them. Recent history shows us they’ll continue to attack that right—one proposed bill after another.

This country was built on the principle that its citizens—and not the government—hold the power to control their own lives. The 2nd Amendment clearly states that our right “to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This is a key protection to our sovereignty as individuals, acknowledging our right to protect ourselves.

That’s a Constitutional right I’m unwilling to give up.

Rep. Rob Sampson
80th General Assembly District
Southington, Wolcott