Dean Varner makes a familiar argument that if we put limits on gun rights, we will soon lose our rights to free assembly, speech, and religion (“Protecting 2nd Amendment protects all rights,” Dec. 11).
I think he has it backward. Just a quick check of how guns have protected our rights in recent years: 2012, six people gunned down at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee; 2014, three Christian victims killed because they were mistaken as Jewish; 2015, nine people massacred in the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC; 2017, 26 massacred in the First Baptist Church of Southerland Springs, Texas; and, just this October, 11 people killed in the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
These are just highlights; I could go on. And each is nothing if not a direct attack on our rights to religion, assembly, and free speech. Varner makes a naive and dangerous claim that guns will protect us. Yes, we’ve all heard that the only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun. Should we point out that there have been not one but two mass shootings at Fort Hood, Texas; you will not find a better-trained and -armed group than on a military base, so how does that protect us? Varner argues he values all constitutional rights equally, but it’s not true. Blocking discussion of reasonable gun control is in fact to value that right over all our other fundamental rights, including the right to our own lives.