Are you misinformed? I can fix that.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001 at 1:00am

As you might imagine, I have no trouble inciting political conversations at my place of business, and a good time is generally had by all.

Almost as good a time as when we talk about sports, although only the rawest feelings are vented when the topic is sports. Even the most Republican of Tennessee Volunteer fans despise Steve Spurrier more than Bill Clinton. Unfortunately for us Big Orange fans, there are no term limits that can make coach Spurrier and his football Gators go away.

But through the years during political discussions I have noticed the repeated emergence of two great misconceptions, or perhaps more accurately, two big lies that have been sold by special interest groups to many people.

The two issues involved are some of the political red meat the GOP has used to lure the majority of white males to the Republican table: unreasonable fears over gun control and emphasis on welfare as a prime example of government waste resulting in taxpayer resentment toward welfare recipients and political liberals.

Now get this straight. I am not a radical anti-gun nut. My daddy taught me how to shoot when I was a boy, and I have owned legal hunting weapons all my life. But nothing in the Second Amendment guarantees me the right to an unrestricted private arsenal or the unregulated acquisition of firearms.

The right to keep and bear arms is not absolute just as the right to free speech is not absolute. One does not have the right to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater falsely or maliciously libel another person, and so it follows the keeping and bearing of arms must be also be regulated.

The language of the Second Amendment is clear to nonmembers of the NRA-inspired cult of gun worship: "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."

You want proof of our founders

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