Guns not the only problem

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Ratified Dec. 15, 1791, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution continues to be the source of political and legal debate.

Clearly, “arms” as defined in 1791 did not include machine guns, or even semi-automatic handguns.

Still, we at The Telegraph stridently support the Second Amendment. We believe Americans have a right to defend themselves and their families from criminals, or an overly aggressive government.

We do not find a problem with some reasonable regulations on firearms, however. After all, if one must be at least 21 to consume alcohol, or at least 16 to drive an automobile, it seems logical some guidelines for guns could be in order.

Wednesday, the Democratic-led New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to prohibit guns in the House chamber, gallery and anterooms.

“This vote is a step in the right direction,” Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress and convener of the New Hampshire Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, said of the vote. “Now the Legislature needs to pass a package of common sense gun violence prevention laws, including closing background check loopholes … “

Not surprisingly, House Minority Leader Richard Hinch, R-Merrimack, has a different take.

“There have been several instances where members of this body have been threatened with physical violence against them or their families,” he said. “In our capacity as identifiable public officials in an environment of heightened political rhetoric, we are at greater risk for violence.”

In our opinion, Hinch’s point must be taken seriously. Perhaps, more stringent security should be in place to ensure that no legislator – of any political party or philosophy – feels threatened while doing his or her work.

On their face, the rules passed by House Democrats seem reasonable. We, however, will never support any sweeping ban, or even excessive regulation, of firearms.

The notion that the mere legality of firearms makes people unsafe is comparable to saying matches and lighters start fires.