Can’t we seek common ground on dam/fish divide?

Jeff Sayre

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”

In the Declaration, the Federalist papers and even the U.S. Constitution, the Founding Fathers referred to things the British and King George III had done to the colonists that they did not like and even hated.

Among them were:

l Arbitrary authority by the king to seize property, home and personal property and even one’s body.

l  Forcing their way into colonists’ homes to search for papers and writings against the king and seizing them and other alleged stolen property at the soldier’s disposal. Such actions were called writs of assistance.

With the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, there is a loud call for the feared “red flag” laws or extreme risk protection orders to be made into law nationally. Many states already have them in place. Connecticut, one of the original colonies, was the first to do so. Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., now have them in place.

A red flag law is a law enacted to prevent gun violence. This law allows police or family members to petition a state or county court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who “may” present a danger to others or himself.

A judge makes the determination to issue the order based on statements and actions made by the gun owner in question. This results in the temporary civil seizure of your property.

In both the Texas, and Ohio, shootings, gunmen used weapons that “looked” like weapons of war. But they are not, and no soldier would take a single-shot AR-15 or SKS/AK-47 into battle unless it was the last weapon of choice on the rack.

Democrats have screamed that these weapons must be confiscated. That’s not allowed anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. But Democrats have always felt the Constitution was a roadblock to them trying to take away our rights, anyway. So it’s nothing new.

They know best which rights you need and don’t need. If you watched the last two nights of the Democrat clown circus debates, it’s very evident.

The Second Amendment is clear: “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.”

We can debate until the sun comes up what a “well-regulated militia” means, but the “shall not be infringed” part is solid in my mind: Don’t touch it.

States have ignored most of that clause. It’s been in and out of state and federal courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark D.C. v. Heller decision.

“Please do something” has been the cry.

Do something even if it’s not legal or is unconstitutional?

No. Stop.

Where has the presumption of innocence gone? Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh was guilty until he was proven innocent in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

President Donald Trump was presumed guilty by the media and Democrats at the hands of the previous administration.

Where is the presumption of innocence when a judge takes just the words of people who know the gun owner and who may be lying? Yes, lying.

In North Carolina, 30 percent of the accusations proved to be false. They could be lies from angry neighbors, distraught ex-wives and girlfriends.

Many of the guns, including some that were family heirlooms, were destroyed.

“Oops. Too late, bub. Sorry about your great-great-grandfather Brown’s musket used against the redcoats. It’s been melted. We thought you were a danger.”

It’s a slippery slope. Keep your skates on, folks. Will legal law-abiding gun owners now become criminals? Neither new laws nor old laws are followed by criminals. Ever.

Sounds just like what King George ordered his soldiers to do. Go in and take his or her guns because they “might” do something. Might.

It’s the government’s responsibility to prove without a reasonable doubt that you are a danger. How can the government prove that you “might” do something? Isn’t it just as likely proved that you “might” not do something? Sure.

Liberty is at play here as well as people’s lives. Saving and preserving both are very important. The question is how you do that.

Will red flag laws help prevent the next shooting?

Maybe.Maybe not.

But not if it means liberty —your’s and mine —is lost.

Think about it. Participate in the debate.

Sayre of Lewiston served as regional director to former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. His email address is

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