REEVES — U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Shreveport, defended the Second Amendment on Thursday.
“I believe there is a strong tie between the First and Second Amendment,” Fleming told 40 people at the Reeves Fire Station. “If you don’t have the freedom of speech and the freedom of self-protection, then I don’t think you have any freedom at all.”
Fleming assured the group that executive orders for gun control being pushed by President Barack Obama will not affect their right to bear arms. Those attending the meeting shared Fleming’s concerns about gun rights.
“I absolutely believe that we ought to, in theory, even though I can’t afford an atomic bomb or a nuclear or a tank, if I could I should be able to have it at (my) yard and I shouldn’t have to hide it,” said Paula Reeves of Reeves. “It should be a right to bear arms. If the enemy has a tank and I have an ink pen, who’s going to win?”
“One of the things I feel — and a lot of people in Reeves and Allen Parish feel — is that our Second Amendment right is starting to be infringed upon,” said Reeves Mayor Scott Walker.
Walker wrote a letter to Congress about the Second Amendment and included concerns from local residents and closed with a prayer, he said.
“We’ve been sling-shot from one extreme to the other, and our liberties and freedom are being trampled on,” Walker said. “When we want the help of government, we will let them know. Right now, leave our Second Amendment right alone.”
Mike Heintz of Reeves voiced concern about attempts to restrict firearms and said he stands by the Second Amendment.
“They are trying to restrict the use of certain firearms — personally I don’t see anything wrong with restricting assault weapons — but this is the first step to doing away with all firearms,” Heintz said.
Robin Newell of Reeves said gun control is nothing new for the government.
“They are trying to get their foot in the door,” Newell said. “They’ve been doing that for 40 years, but I will adhere to the Second Amendment.”
Fleming began his discussion by asking those in attendance where they and criminals go to buy guns.
“If we pass laws that make it more difficult to buy a firearm from a Walmart or an Academy or a Nichols, how is that going to keep guns off the street and into the hands of criminals?” Fleming said.
Congress has tried gun control before, including an assault gun weapon that included limits on clip size and “cosmetics” that go onto the gun, Fleming said. A study of the ban and other data found no impact or difference from those restrictions, he said.
“Any place you go to, particularly the cities, it’s interesting that where you have the most restrictions, you have the most injuries and deaths from guns,” Fleming said.
In areas such as Louisiana and Texas, where access to firearms is easy for law-abiding citizens, there is the least amount of gun violence.
“When you restrict the right of people to have access to guns, you are only restricting it for the law-abiding citizens, the ones who need the protection the most,” he said.
There are two problems with guns today — gun violence on the streets and those mentally deranged who are not being treated. He said the focus needs to be on the people doing the shooting and noted that most mass shootings involve mentally ill people.
“Criminals who commit crimes with a violent weapon shouldn’t have access to that weapon,” he said. “If you are severely mentally deranged and a threat to people, then you probably shouldn’t have easy access to a powerful weapon. But for most Americans who are law abiding and want to sport- or target-shoot or just need it for protection, there is no reason in the world for preventing us from having access to guns.”
Chad Doucet of Reeves said the way the gun control issue is being presented is “very stupid” and that the government is trying to take people’s guns away.