The Advocate prints a lot of letters from folks who claim that the U.S. Constitution protects this specific action or that particular right. Their implication (sometimes express statement) is that this protection is absolute — allowing no limitations. They typically say this with great conviction.

They are wrong.

As far as I know, none of the rights that are set forth in the Bill of Rights is absolute. Every single one is subject to some limitation or other. For example, your freedom of speech may be limited by laws that regulate speech by time, place or manner of delivery. You cannot stand on private property and orate without the owner’s consent. That is trespassing.

The same is true of freedom of assembly, religion, the press and to petition your government for redress of grievance. Generally, your rights end at the point where they start to infringe on the rights of others.

A lot is said and published regarding the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Most of those who strongly support that right seem to believe it is not subject to the same reasonable limitations as all of our other rights. They seem to believe that, for some reason, the founders thought that one man’s right to own a gun was more important that another’s right to live, and that this is how it should still be today.

This is true only if we allow it to be so. More than 80 percent of Americans believe that laws restricting gun ownership should include stronger background checks in order to prevent criminals and loonies from buying guns. This includes a large majority of Republicans, as well as Democrats AND about 72 percent of NRA members.

If so many of us believe in background checks, why is it not the law of the land? The only explanation I can see is that the NRA has purchased so many politicians that their position is unassailable. As you can see from the statistics, the NRA’s lobbying does not reflect the views of its members. It only reflects the views of those it really represents — arms manufacturers.

We now lose more Americans each year to gun deaths than to automobile accidents. We have gotten to the point where the Republicans in Congress will not even pass a law restricting gun sales to those on the no-fly list who are suspected of terrorist connections.

None of this makes sense to me, but I am sure that it is perfectly logical to Remington and Smith & Wesson.

Michael Hale

IT consultant

Baton Rouge