The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the need for all gun owners to be prepared to defend the right to keep and bear arms. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court says that Americans have the right to own firearms, several states have passed laws allowing weapons to be confiscated. A recent case in New Jersey is just one example.
New Jersey State Police recently went to the home of Leonard Cottrell Jr. in attempt to take his firearms. They made the visit to the home of the disabled Iraq war veteran because of something his 13-year-old son said about the security at his school. They wanted to confiscate Cottrell’s gun while they worked their investigation. Cottrell was at work at the time of the visit, but his wife let the officers to search the home. They search the entire home including the son’s bedroom but did not find any firearms.
Cottrell insists that the officers were there to confiscate his shotgun and pistol. However, he knew his Second Amendment rights and refused to let the police take his firearms without a warrant. He says that the incident is related to a new law that allows police to seize guns from law abiding citizens without due process if the state determines they are a threat to themselves or others.
In this case, the state apparently did not find that threat. According to the state police spokesman, “Troopers responded to Mr. Cottrell’s residence in reference to the report of a possible school threat. Based on their investigation, it was determined that Mr. Cottrell’s weapons did not need to be seized.”
Even though the investigation showed no need to seize Cottrell’s guns, the school refused to allow his son to attend his school’s graduation. The whole situation arose over a conversation that was blown way out of proportion in an effort to stop school violence.
It appears that parents need to do more than control their guns. They must also teach their children to be careful about their words and actions. What can they safely say, and what will get them into trouble? Children have gotten in trouble for drawing a gun, making their sandwich into the shape of a gun, and for putting their fingers in the shape of a gun. What sorts of words are safe these days? Are words, such as guns, weapons, or firearms, to be totally eliminated from conversations in order to avoid investigations?
I am all for being alert to spot potential problems and to prevent violence. However, I feel there is also a need to use common sense in our judgments.