The Daily Pilot says that it just doesn't trust "ordinary folks" to carry weapons in public without "good reason." And the Pilot does not consider a desire to be armed for self-defense — in the absence of a heightened risk — to be a sufficiently good reason.
As an expression of a policy preference, that is perfectly understandable. Many sensible people (and a majority of legislators in Sacramento) agree with the Pilot's stance that society as a whole would be safer if ordinary folks were not permitted to carry guns in public except in exceptional circumstances.
What I take issue with is the lip service that the Pilot pays to the Constitution. "We are not opposed to the 2nd Amendment," the Pilot insists. And that is all it says about the matter. But in two recent cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of an ordinary, law-abiding individual to carry a gun for self-defense.
The Pilot does not argue (let alone articulate why) these cases were wrongly decided. It is in light of these cases that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now held that California's laws (and the implementation of those laws by local sheriffs) must permit ordinary folks to carry a gun in public for self-defense — without any exceptional showing of good cause. The Pilot does not argue (let alone explain why) that 9th Circuit opinion was wrongly decided in light of these Supreme Court opinions.
To be sure, the question of what rights the 2nd Amendment does or does not protect is still unsettled. And a general interest newspaper does not have to wade into the waters of a roiling constitutional debate in order to express a policy preference about gun control. But if it is going to do so, it needs to go a little deeper than the Pilot went.
Allow readers to review letters
I would like to chime in on the subject of the Daily Pilot's editing of letters before publication ("Mailbag: Heavy editing of letters diminishes viewpoints," March 9).
While the newspaper has kindly printed several of my letters, I have experienced varying degrees of irritation, sometimes bordering on outrage, over the editing of some of those letters.
I always attempt to be concise, knowing that the paper has space constraints. As a result, any excising of language by editors cannot help but diminish the message I intend to convey. It would be preferable, and very much appreciated, if editors would send any edited version to the author to obtain his or her blessing or further input before printing it.
(On at least two occasions, I would have requested that the edited version of my letter not be printed.)
At a minimum, editors should extend any letter writer the courtesy of inserting an ellipsis whenever language is omitted so readers will know the version published is not identical to the original.
James R. Percival