Letter to the Editor:

In response to James Parker’s letter to the News-Review April 21 calling for more limits on gun ownership, I find it puzzling that a man who claims to have owned 18 firearms and who for most of his 79 years has enjoyed the right to self-defense as embodied in the 2nd Amendment is suddenly in favor of restricting that right.

Parroting Joe Biden’s mistaken remark that no right is “absolute,” Mr. Parker appears to disregard the four essential words in the 2A, “shall not be infringed,” and instead finds it “extremely dangerous” to establish a Second Amendment Sanctuary in Wisconsin as proposed by Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk). 

No, Mr. Parker what is “extremely dangerous” is any government attempt to ride roughshod over the constitutional right of law-biding citizens to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property. Mr. Parker suggests we all ought to be “reasonable” when it comes to our God-given freedoms and yet fails to recognize that these days many police departments are under siege and are either unwilling or unable to protect themselves or citizens from the lawless and violent mobs bent on destroying our nation.

He would ban AR-15 weapons, which are lawful and legitimate rifles for hunting and recreational shooting despite the fact they have been used in fewer than 100 mass murders over the past 40 years.

In stark contrast, the federal Centers for Disease Control reports that cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 U.S. deaths in one year alone, including 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Yet I hear no calls to ban tobacco; rather we are constantly lectured that 500 million guns in America and the 99.9% of citizens who lawfully own them are the greatest threat to our lives.

Mr. Parker ignores documented research that clearly shows that states with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest decline in violent crimes. Cities such as Chicago and New York have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and yet have some of the highest murder rates. More broadly, countries such as Switzerland, New Zealand, Finland and Israel have high gun-ownership rates and low crime rates. 

Facts and figures matter if one is to debate the issue logically and intelligently rather than to rely on sheer emotion and the predictable reaction that the tens of thousands of existing gun laws are inadequate to deal with criminality. 

Mr. Parker fears what he calls the “slippery slope of slaughter” if more gun laws are not enacted, yet conveniently ignores moves by the Biden administration, the Democrat-led Congress and liberal judges to further erode our first and second amendment freedoms by presidential edict, legislative means or judicial overreach. 

Instead of undermining our right to self-defense, we ought to thank elected officials such as Felzkowski and some 400 local governments in 22 states that as of 2021 have either proposed or have already adopted Second Amendment sanctuaries, the latest being Arizona and Montana.

Last August, the Vilas County Board voted 14-6 to adopt a resolution supporting 2nd Amendment rights by recognizing that both the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions guarantee that people have the right to bear arms. The resolution opposes “any action by Wisconsin legislators or the governor which would infringe on 2nd Amendment rights” and opposes “buy back laws, universal background checks, firearm owner I.D. requirements or any type of red flag laws.”

Perhaps the final word ought to go to a wise man who pronounced 2,000 years ago: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.” (Luke 11:21)

Joe Costanza

Eagle River