Our View: Gun extremists hurt cause

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:02 AM

Editorial Board

Some of the antics by gun rights supporters, whether it’s shopping in a store with a firearm in full view, parents and children openly displaying their weapons at rallies and other events at the Utah Capitol, and holding a Confederate flag at a gun rights rally, are hurting the gun rights movement. These people look ridiculous, and most people who see these antics are turned off.

These gun extremists are, granted, a small minority of those who rally in support of gun rights, but they serve as risible stereotypes, so much so that some of those at the recent rallies have been criticized by legislators who support gun rights.

Speaking of the Legislature, the emergence of House Bill 114, a useless measure that would criminalize any attempt to enforce federal gun laws in Utah, adds to the toxity that infects elements of the gun rights movement. Currently, HB114 has been parked in a committee, where hopefully it will die an undignified death.

That’s not good for those who support a broad view of the Second Amendment. There is an honest and healthy debate over firearms in this nation. How far the Second Amendment extends to protect the right to bear arms is being debated with passion across the nation.

This editorial board is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. We have debated many of the proposed gun control measures, such as bans on firearms described by some as “assault weapons.”

We’re skeptical that many of the measures in Congress will do anything to stem gun violence in many urban areas, particularly Chicago and other large cities.

Having said that, if Congress were to pass a ban on “assault weapons” or limit magazines, that would not be in violation of the Second Amendment. The right of an individual to own firearms for a variety of reasons, including protection, would not be infringed upon.

The debate over gun control is good for our country. Political activism, sans the demagogic foolishness on both sides (Besides the gun extremists, CNN’s Piers Morgan, for example, has not distinguished himself as well in his criticism of gun rights supporters), is always a plus. We look forward to the debate continuing, but let’s keep it dignified.

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