By Jack Cook

I read with interest Jerry Plantz’s column (The Examiner, Wednesday, “Group seeks to curb gun violence”). Mr. Plantz wrote early in his column, “Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown down the gauntlet and his wallet to the National Rifle Association with $50 million of his own funds to create Everytown For Gun Safety organization.” Let’s give that some thought.

The National Rifle Association has around 5 million members from across America. Its members include city and rural citizens, people with multiple degrees and high school graduates, Democrats and Republicans. It is quite probable that some members of your family, your church, your neighbors and your friends are members of the NRA. These are the people who Mr. Bloomberg, and perhaps Mr. Plantz by his enthusiastic support of Bloomberg’s latest organization, have thrown down the gauntlet on. These friends and neighbors are good citizens who support the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.

They work to support all the rights. These relatives, friends and neighbors hardly seem to be the evildoers in our communities as they do in Bloomberg’s world. Let’s face the fact that Mr. Bloomberg has repeatedly tried to eliminate or constrain a person’s right to defend themselves with guns in elections in Colorado and across the country.

I am amused that Mr. Bloomberg and his supporters think so little of us that we might believe Everytown along with his mayors and moms groups are “grassroots” organizations with him as the paternal father figure. Mr. Plantz reported that Bloomberg’s mayors group and moms group have joined together in an all-for-one-and-one-for-all campaign. It’s more likely that Mr. Bloomberg’s first two groups had lost any traction and credibility they had, and since he’s funding the groups, he’s consolidated them under a new name. Having Mayors Against Illegal Guns members like former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who was found guilty on 21 corruption charges, or Kwame Kilpatrick from Detroit, now serving time, or Sheila Dixon, indicted on theft charges, tends to raise questions on the membership’s integrity and motives.

My radar also went up when I read, “Further, the Second Amendment will not be affected.” First, I do not believe Mr. Bloomberg nor his supporters can affect a constitutional amendment. Secondly, when I hear known gun-control activities – or, more accurately, people-control activists – say it they won’t infringe on my rights, it’s like a politician saying “trust me.” Oh wait a minute, Michael Bloomberg was a politician.

Gun owners are among the more safety conscious people among us. I have been on gun ranges since enlisting in the Army 1969 through today. I have decades of experiences with hundreds or even thousands of hours on shooting ranges across many states, as both a shooting sports supporter and a pistol competitor. I can assure you I am safer among gun owners on ranges than shopping at a convenience store, driving across town, or even attending church.

Look back to the list of shootings in gun-free zones such as Fort Hood, Texas. We can review the Easter weekend toll of eight dead and 44 wounded in Chicago where the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, to see their common-sense approaches do not work. I suggest the statistics Mr. Plantz included in his column address more the criminal law enforcement issues rather than describing the members of the NRA.

Mr. Plantz briefly brought up the nullification bill in Missouri, but I didn’t see anywhere in his column that more than 145,000 Missourians have completed the required training and background checks to carry concealed their pistols or revolvers for their and their family’s protection. These people have permission from Missouri to exercise their natural right to protect themselves with guns from the criminals with illegal guns. State conceale- carry laws providing for individuals to protect themselves have come about through the efforts of the NRA and others working with legislators to preserve and protect our rights from those wanting to eliminate or restrain them. Some of these 145,000 Missourians have been trained by our local police departments, such as Blue Springs through its citizens police academies.

Mr. Plantz closes every column by a toast from one of my favorite presidents, John Adams. His toast is “Independence forever.” Looking back in history, John Adams was an attorney in colonial Boston. He had the unenviable task of representing a British soldier following the Boston Massacre in 1770. It was during that trial that our future second president upheld the right of “Self Defense, the primary Canon of the Law of Nature” that Adams argued “Here every private person is authorized to arm himself, and on the strength of this authority, I do not deny the inhabitants had a right to arms themselves at this time for their defense, not offense.” It was those founding fathers such as Adams who had the wisdom to establish our republic and affirm our natural rights in our Constitution. So it is with freedom loving people like the millions of NRA members I say again Adam’s toast: Independence forever.

Jack Cook lives in Blue Springs.