Straight Shootin': Don’t blame the gun—blame the criminal

I often hear from the left-wing liberals that if you look at the Second Amendment in its larger context, “the right to keep and bear arms” pertains only to “a militia.” HOGWASH!!! If you look not at the larger context but the WHOLE Constitution and Bill of Rights, it pertains to INDIVIDUAL rights and was largely enacted to protect us FROM government. Our forefathers didn’t need to enact a provision allowing our government’s military to have arms.

If you look at every coercive and suppressive regime in recorded history, one of the first things they do is disarm the populace and prevent them from protecting themselves and voicing any opposition. My grandfather fled pre-Nazi Germany because of this and to make a better life for his family here in the U.S. He brought them through Ellis Island and settled in a row house under the L on Bissell Street in Chicago, where he toiled as a tool and die maker to realize the American dream. He largely succeeded, as his two sons both grew up to be prominent doctors. Opa was a strong individualist, and I guess that is where I get my core conservative beliefs. He believed, as I do, that it is the individual who made this country great and that if you take away that individual’s basic right of self-preservation, you kill that individuality.

Allowing an individual to protect himself and his family is a fundamental right, and in this day and age of “modern technology,” that means allowing him to have the means necessary to defend himself against those who would do him harm and have the technological means to do so. As I write this, there is pending legislation in the State House (Senate Bill 1007) that would ban high-capacity magazines for firearms. Several weeks ago in The Rock River Times, Stanley Campbell objected to high-powered guns, guns that take high-capacity banana clips and inexpensive guns, to prevent tragedies like the massacre at Virginia Tech from happening. Since he is apparently a firearms expert, maybe Mr. Campbell will tell us what kind of guns he considers acceptable for us to have. Then maybe he can tell us how we are supposed to defend ourselves with those weapons, as we will be sorely outgunned by the bad guys who have those inexpensive, high-powered firearms with banana clips.

The maniac who perpetrated the disaster in Virginia used a 9 mm caliber Glock Model 19 handgun, which did most of the damage, as well as an even smaller 22 caliber rim fire pistol. Just so you know, Stanley, a 9 mm handgun is not a particularly high-powered weapon, and the Glock 19 does not take banana clips. It is, however, a very well-made gun and is not inexpensive. I will be happy to sell you a Glock 19 for $549, Stanley, provided, of course, that you have a valid FOID (Firearm Owner’s Identification) card and can pass the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). Outlawing any of the above guns these liberals are attempting to ban would not have made any difference in stopping the tragedy in Virginia. And enacting more frivolous anti-gun legislation such as banning high-capacity magazines will not stop gun violence. It is all window dressing so these liberal legislators can say they are fighting gun violence. What difference would it make if a guy has two 15-round magazines or three 10-round magazines? Even a single shotgun of any type or caliber can kill you just as dead.

What needs to be done is not preventing honest, law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns legally. What needs to be done is enforcing the existing laws we have for criminals who use guns during the commission of a crime. It is the same liberal lawmakers who are banning guns who let these criminals go unpunished. We need to hold these individuals accountable for their actions. You will not find a bigger fan of law enforcement than I am. I do a considerable amount of business with law enforcement and the military, and consider many of them friends as well as customers. Just this last year, I even got a gun for our last chief of police. I applaud our current Chief Epperson’s efforts to reduce gun violence and absolutely agree with him that we should keep guns out of the hands of criminals, minors and anybody else who should not have a gun. Taking guns away from honest, responsible, law-abiding people will not reduce crime because honest, responsible, law-abiding people don’t commit crimes. It only restricts their ability to protect themselves against crime.

Illinois is one of only two states (Wisconsin being the other) that does not have a concealed carry law. As long as Blago is the governor and Daley is running Chicago, we probably never will, either. The other 48 states have realized that allowing concealed carry increases an individual’s ability to defend himself and decreases crime and violence. It’s only common sense that if a crook knows his victim may be armed, he will be less likely to attempt the crime.

A gun is an inanimate object and cannot commit a crime. A gun is simply a tool, a piece of machinery to be more specific, a device that is used to fire projectiles called bullets. It cannot point itself at someone or fire a bullet all by itself. A gun has been called an instrument of death, and I have been called a merchant of death. Guns don’t kill people any more than cars or knives or clubs kill people. Irresponsible, law-breaking criminals kill people, and we can ban or outlaw any object, and they will still find a way to kill people if that is what they are set on doing. Certainly, in the wrong hands, a gun can be used to kill, but it can also be used to prevent violence and protect us. It can be used for sport and to put food on the table. A gun can be a collectible and an investment. It all depends on the individual holding it, so let’s stop this nonsense about outlawing guns as if it’s the object that’s causing the problem, and focus on the outlaws who use them to commit crime.

Eric R. Sonnenberg is a Federal Firearms Licensed gun dealer who owns Forest City Firearms in Rockford. He can be reached at (815) 262-4279 or

from the June 6-12, 2007, issue

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