Absolute right

I want to thank both Faye O’Neill and Joe Bialek for taking the time to respond to my guest editorial (Stricter gun control means government tyranny) in the Oct. 8 edition of The Telegraph.

By way of background, on Sept. 11, 2001, I was the vice chairman of the Massachusetts Port Authority Board of Directors. Massport operates Logan Airport from which two plane were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center buildings.

The Muslim terrorists were armed with box cutters, and used them to slaughter the flight crews, take down both towers and kill almost 3,000 innocent people. To say this did not have a very direct and profound effect on my life would be an understatement.

Over the balance of my tenure on the Massport Board, we were briefed by Homeland Security on other attempts to bring down passenger planes, most of which were not made public, and some like the “shoe and underwear bombers” became very public. We have an implacable enemy who wants to harm us in any way they can, so the inconvenience of the security procedures at the airline gates is a real necessity.

I would also say, that non-tyrannical states like France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the UK, have suffered gun violence, bombings, knife attacks and vehicle deaths in numbers far beyond those we have experienced, including what happened in Las Vegas. Gun ownership is a right under the Second Amendment, and I am sure there are hundreds of Amherst citizens who own firearms, and who attend the same sporting events, town hall meeting and other activities that Ms. O’Neill attends. They pose no threat to her or her family, and they should be able to use their firearms as they see fit, and as long as such use is allowed by law.

To Mr. Bialak, who raises the issue of the militia being replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard, he is wrong on the facts. The founders wanted to use the state militias as a substitute for a standing army, but that notion was quickly disabused during the War of 1812 when the ill-disciplined and trained militia fled in the face of British Regulars at Bladensburg, Md., and other such battles.

They could be somewhat effective behind barricades as in New Orleans, but not in open field combat. Finally, he limits the use of firearms to hunting and self-defense, eliminating target and skeet shooting, collecting and other legal uses. He obviously knows little about firearms with his claim that had we prohibited the purchase of more “sophisticated weapons,” several innocent victims would not have died etc. His “sophisticated weapons” are a class of semi-automatic rifles that are legal to own, and while they are “black,” they are no different from a wooden-stocked Ruger semi-automatic rifle or shotgun.

The Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that an armed citizenry could resist the tyranny of a government with unlimited power, who could rule over them as King George III had before the Revolution.