Concerns about 2A sanctuaries

I am concerned about the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement in Lynchburg. While I do support City Council holding a public meeting regarding the Sanctuary issue, I believe the movement misses the mark for many reasons. I am sympathetic to those who own guns as I, too, own a shotgun for sport and a small caliber rifle from my teenage years.

First, I believe that a test of reasonableness is required of laws and policy that stem from the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment that allows freedom of speech has reasonable limits. For instance, it is not legal to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater because it is dangerous to others. This is reasonable. Is the Second Amendment not also subject to tests of reasonableness especially when public safety is considered? Are background checks reasonable? Is it reasonable to own an automatic weapon? Is limiting handgun purchases to one per month reasonable?

Secondly, I believe that the Second Amendment was not about allowing citizens to arm themselves for their personal defense from anyone considered dangerous. Its purpose was to provide citizens with the right to own guns in order to, if necessary, participate in a “well-regulated militia” that could resist a standing army directed by those in charge of the government seeking the power to overturn democratic freedoms.

Third, I am concerned that the sanctuary movement is based on a fear that stems from a cultural and spiritual unease and that we must look differently at ourselves and our culture for answers. More guns to keep us safe from people with guns will create a never ending escalation with no light at the end of the tunnel, only fear. Add our current national cultural and political divide and we end up more divided, dualistic and confused.

I’m reminded of slogans that are, when taken together, confusing and contradictory. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” yet, somehow “Guns save lives.” In the first saying, people are responsible and in the second, guns are responsible. Something here is wrong with our culture.

I am reminded of the mass shooting at West Nickel Mines Amish School house in 2006. Eleven children were shot and five died. What is most notable was and is the response of the Amish. They forgave the shooter, showed compassion for his wife and, by all accounts, became closer to the surrounding community. They did not arm themselves out of fear; they responded with love and compassion, a response of Light. Maybe we can be less concerned with gun sanctuaries and more concerned with community to resolve our continuing problems of poverty, racism, hunger, environment and war, just to name a few. Maybe.

JEFF SMITH

Lynchburg

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