Letter to the Editor: Andy Harris, Guns and the “Slippery Slope”

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Congressman Andy Harris is locked and loaded on guns. I listened to his recent telephone town hall (he no longer does in person town halls) in which he advises his constituents that expanding gun background checks, raising the age of rifle purchases or banning assault style weapons would violate our Second Amendment right to bear arms. This was particularly astounding to me because he readily admitted that there is no Second Amendment violation resulting from the longstanding ban on automatic weapons or the 21 year age requirement to buy a handgun.

Why are the new proposed gun safety measures qualitatively different from these existing limitations on gun rights?

Harris’s position is entirely consistent with the NRA (which has contributed more than $20,000 to his campaigns), but finds scant support in judicial legal decisions, including Supreme Court’s landmark decision in U.S. v. Heller. In that case, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, explicitly states that the “Constitution leaves open a variety of regulatory tools to combating the problem of gun violence in this country.” Essentially, Harris’s position on guns relies on the “slippery slope” argument—any new gun safety laws will lead to the eventual elimination of the right of the individual to own guns.

In light of our mounting gun death toll, the slippery slope scare tactic is clearly losing sway with the American public. Indeed, the slippery slope seems to be in the other direction: The organized Parkland school students demanding action on guns, Senator Rubio’s break with the NRA on age limits, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, the Florida Republican Senate (voting for a 21 year age limit on gun purchases), even President Trump’s flirtation with Senator Feinstein’s effort to re-impose the ban on assault rifles. What this tells me is the slippery slope is paving the way for common sense gun legislation and Andy Harris’s exit as our Representative in the 1st District.

To draw upon one of the NRA’s favorite memes: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO KEEP A BAD GUY FROM BUYING A GUN? IT’S A LOT OF GOOD GUYS WITH BALLOTS. (And let us not to forget the women and millennials leading this cause.)

Congressman Harris, we are locked and loaded for the midterm elections.

Warren Davis
Oxford, MD

Letters to Editor

  1. Frank Carollo says:

    Hear, hear! If Harris doesn’t change his position on gun control, come election time we’ll be changing his position for him: to ex-Representative.

  2. Alan Boisvert says:

    Agree. Congressman Harris’s time in the congress is set to expire. His type is no longer needed. His attitude about guns is despicable. Since there is a major shortage of doctors he should quickly and voluntarily return to his practice. If not voluntary, November is a short few months away. Best of luck Doctor Andy.

  3. Jeffrey Staley says:

    Thanks for your commentary, Warren. I wholeheartedly agree.

    I never thought the greed and arrogance of corporate executives would involve leading an entire country down the the wrong path, but I was wrong. The gun industry through its mouthpiece, the NRA, has shown us they care about nothing other than selling the next gun to whoever has the money to buy it. Citizens United, perhaps the worst Supreme Court decision of my generation, has enabled the gun industry through the NRA to spread so much money around that the blood of children in schools is a “small price to pay” for the next sale of an assault rifle.

    Perhaps this situation is about to change and you can be assured my vote and political contributions will be behind it. The Andy Harris’ in our midst are about to exit the debate.

    Jeff

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