Editor:

Kudos to the McAlester News-Capital for your recent CNHI column, “The gap between will and weapons.” A serious national conversation about what the writer refers to as “prompt and reasonable federal gun control” is long, long overdue.

When Senator James Lankford was in McAlester last March for a public forum, I asked him whether he considered the Second Amendment right to bear arms to be an unrestricted right. He immediately said that it was not unrestricted and referenced the U.S. Supreme Court 2008 decision (District of Columbia et al. v. Heller) wherein Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, affirmed the “individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia,” but also stated “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Sen. Lankford went on to discuss restrictions he personally supports.

Yet, the National Rifle Association leadership continues to fiercely push the narrative that any gun restriction will put us on a slippery slope to the ultimate confiscation of all firearms. Politicians running in conservative districts must not oppose NRA positions, or, at a minimum, remain publicly silent whatever their true beliefs. Otherwise, they risk being “primaried” from the right. It’s my belief that most NRA members do not espouse this all-or-nothing philosophy.

The recent mass murder in Dayton is a case in point. Although the shooter was neutralized in thirty seconds (an incredibly fast response time), he still managed to kill nine innocents and wound many others. He reportedly was using a drum magazine that holds up to 100 rounds. These magazines had been outlawed in Ohio until legislative action made them once again legal in 2015. One has to ask why a gun accessory, such as this high-capacity magazine, should ever be legal anywhere when it’s only intended purpose is to maximize the killing of human beings?

Yes, it is time for all of us to join in this conversation. It is time for us to “Do Something!”

Steve Harrison

McAlester