6:00pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

Gun owners on high alert

There is a critical debate about to get underway in Congress over the future of firearms ownership in our country. Expect the debate to be heated and for good reason. A lot of people are worried.

I heard a lot of those fears repeatedly over the weekend as I talked with listeners who visited with us at the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show in Charleston. The overriding concern among gun owners isn’t necessarily what is being proposed in Congress or pushed by the president, although there’s plenty of anger, resentment, and fear over that. The bigger concern is, “What’s next?”

You’re hearing lots of arguments about magazine capacity, the definition of assault rifles, why someone “needs” such a firearm, and the ever ridiculous comparison with the privilege of driving an automobile. All of these arguments are being debated on TV, radio, and in online blogs but they are noise and a distraction to what truly worries gun owners.

The true fear is where does this all lead? If we enact these bills today, will gun ownership be restricted further when another shooting occurs? Could the next move be an attempt to outlaw handguns? Will Congress decide to impose a gun tax? Could Congress make it harder to buy and keep ammunition? It’s the camel’s nose under the tent which worries people most.

Police officers do fantastic work, when they are around. A lot of people in West Virginia and other states live a long way from help and many of us simply want to exercise our Second Amendment rights to protect ourselves, our families and our property. Gun owners are tired of paying the price for every irresponsible psycho in every tragedy which grabs headlines.

This isn’t about deer hunting. The critical element of this debate for gun owners is being able to protect yourself in your own home in a time of great crises. It’s about preserving a guaranteed right. It’s about respecting the Constitution and the limits of powers it places on people in high places. Truly the founding fathers couldn’t have foreseen the power of weapons today, but they could clearly see the need of independent and free people to protect themselves against a threat.

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