No right is completely unfettered

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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As a member of last year's Gun Rights/Responsibilities Committee, I have read with dismay, articles written by members of the Gun Rights contingent. The difference in the way each of us remember the meetings is a stark reminder of how an event or series of events is influenced by one's beliefs and prior experiences. I remember once hearing the adage, "perception is 90% of reality," and it seems to be so. I do not wish to rehash the meetings, and I will not assume to know the motives of any of the participants. I will, however, offer some statements that I believe to be true.

The Supreme Court has ruled that citizens have the right to bear arms, but rights can be regulated. In the Second Amendment itself, the words "well regulated" are used. The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition …" But none of the rights in the First Amendment are unfettered. 

You can believe in and practice any religion you choose, but if the practice of your religion causes harm to another, you can be prosecuted. Christian Scientist parents have been prosecuted when their children have died because they did not seek treatment because of their beliefs. Bigamy is not allowed; neither is severe physical punishment even though a few sects believe it is dictated by the Bible or Koran. 

Freedom of speech and of the press is protected under the law, but you cannot yell "fire" in a theater. You can be held accountable if you libel or defame someone. Glenn Beck is currently being sued by a Saudi man who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings because Beck stated that the plaintiff was the "money man" behind the attack.

You have the right to assemble, but if you are going to have a rally or a parade, you can be required to obtain a permit and may even be denied a permit in some cases.

In our daily lives, we can choose what profession we wish to practice, but we very often need to be licensed. We are required to have a license to drive and to have insurance if we own a car. These requirements may be perceived as impediments to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but they are reasonable, just as universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers are reasonable. 

Individual rights can be regulated because we do not live in isolation but in a society. No right is an all or nothing proposition and this includes the right to own a gun. 

Judy Gaietto-Grace

Oak Park

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Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: April 10th, 2014 10:40 PM

Thanks to all of you for chipping in.


Posted: April 10th, 2014 6:17 PM

Judy, 2nd Amendment rights are regulated as well. Just like you can't yell "fire" in a theater, you can't shoot gun on Lake Street for the fun of it. But no one is saying you need a background check just to go to the movies.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: April 10th, 2014 11:11 AM

Judy- If you get the opportunity, over at Triton College there is a fantastic class in the political science program dealing with civil liberties, rights, due process and all kinds of other things outlined in the constitution. IMO it really provides a new prospective learning not only what was the founders intent for many of the rights outlined in the constitution but how they have been interpreted over time by the supreme court. The course is PSC-150 if i remember correctly.

DonP from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 11:24 AM

I guess the 20,000+ existing Federal, State and Local laws governing firearm sales aren't enough regulation for you? The FOID card with background check, Form 4473 and background check already required for any gun sold in Illinois still don't make you "Feel" safe? Or are you another gun control supporter that has never bought a firearm, knows nothing about the existing laws and is proud of it? Speaking of unfettered rights, how do you feel about requiring an ID to vote?

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 6:43 AM

I find it amusing that the side that billed themselves the "gun responsibilities" side seemed to downplay the millions of responsible gun uses each year and instead focused on the thousands of irresponsible - and criminal - uses, and then used those as support for more restrictions. Additionally, they cannot look at the failure of the gun ban that they bemoan losing; instead their solution is to call for more restrictions - not responsibility. Just take off the mask already - "responsibility" to your side means one thing - more laws - restrictions, some might call them - to effect upon the people that choose to obey the laws, and thus aren't the problem.

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