A life or death matter

Published 12:44 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Monday, May 14, at the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors meeting, I presented, to our supervisors, the request printed below. It asks our elected supervisors to take a stand regarding dangerous weapons in our society. This issue is about saving lives.

Frank Howe

This issue is about protecting our children. Please read this request thoughtfully and carefully. I encourage all the citizens of Buckingham County to come to the June Board meeting and speak your support for sane gun legislation. I also encourage the citizens of our surrounding counties to make a similar request for action to their Boards of Supervisors:

I am here this evening to talk about a life or death matter, one that affects every person in this room and every person in Buckingham County. I am here tonight because the efforts and the determination of the students from Parkland High School in Florida have compelled me to try to do something that might make a difference. There is a gun sickness here in America, a gun sickness. We have confused and distorted the right defined by the Second Amendment to the Constitution –

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“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.”

This speaks to a state organized and regulated militia for public defense, not to private individuals or groups of individuals arming themselves for their own purposes. The Second Amendment was never intended to provide a highly dangerous permission for private citizens to own weapons that can kill large numbers of people in very short periods of time

But, regardless of my or your understanding of the Second Amendment, we do currently regulate the ownership of dangerous weapons. Private citizens are not allowed to purchase, sell or own hand grenades. Why? Because they are so dangerous that the safety of all of us overrides the individual right to own one. If this auditorium, this evening, were filled to capacity, a sick, cowardly individual could in about 10 seconds use a hand grenade to kill half the people in the room, but we are relatively safe from such an occurrence because hand grenades are illegal and, therefore, very hard to get.

If this auditorium, this evening, were filled to capacity, a sick, cowardly individual could in about 10 to 15 seconds use a semi-automatic weapon such as an AR-15 to kill half the people in the room. We are not very safe from this possibility. Such weapons are legal for private ownership and very easy to get. Like so many others, I have written letters, signed petitions and contributed money to address this problem but the people, in our country, who make the laws are owned by the people who make the guns. Tonight I am not asking you to make a law, but I am asking you to take a stand. I am asking, at your next monthly meeting, you, the members of our Board of Supervisors discuss and pass the following resolution. “We, the members of the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors call upon the members of the Virginia General Assembly to enact legislation to prohibit private citizens from buying, selling or owning assault weapons and or high capacity ammunition magazines.”

This is a life or death matter and you can do something to save lives. You may choose to deflect or ignore this request. Most of our elected officials do so regularly. Or you may choose to do the right thing, the sane thing. God help us, if some time in the future a mass shooting happens here in our county. It could be one of our schools or it could be here in this room. But, if you fail to consider or fail to pass this proposed resolution, and such an awful thing did happen here in Buckingham, what will you say to yourselves and what will you say to us? Please take this proposal seriously and please act.

Frank Howe is a citizen of Buckingham. You can reach him via email at frankj.howe@gmail.com.