Am I a Threat?

I am a Commissioned Officer currently serving on Active Duty in the United States Marine Corps. I have deployed five times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have been granted a Top Secret security clearance three times during my career after thorough background investigations (and polygraph tests) by various Federal agencies. I have never in my life been treated for any type of psychological disorder.

I am also the owner of several firearms; I own two "assault" rifles, a shotgun, and three handguns. Each of these weapons is secured by a trigger lock and stored in a locked safe. I have a concealed weapons permit in my home state; a permit granted to me after demonstrating weapons competence to a state-certified instructor and a comprehensive background check by the State Police. I have never in my life violated any firearms-related law.

Clearly, a great deal of trust has been placed in me over the course of my adult life. I have been trusted with the lives of countless Marines. I have been trusted to lead young Americans into battle. I have been trusted with safeguarding some of this nation's most closely held secrets. I have been trusted with carrying a concealed weapon on the streets of my home state. I have proven to be worthy of these trusts, repeatedly and consistently, otherwise I would not be in the position I'm in today.

My question to those elected leaders (such as Senators Schumer, Feinstein, Lautenberg; Representatives Lee, McCarthy, Pelosi; Mayors Emmanuel and Bloomberg) who seek to deny me my rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution (a document I have repeatedly sworn to protect and defend, even at the cost of my own life) is as follows: Despite all of the above-listed evidence, do you consider me a threat to public safety because I own firearms?

If the answer to this question is "yes", then my next question is simple: why? After nearly two decades of service to our great nation, service in which I have been repeatedly placed in positions of significant public trust, exposed myself to injury (or death), and withstood numerous intrusive background investigations, why am I a threat?

If the answer to the question is "no", then the next question is also simple: Do you realize there are hundreds of thousands (maybe millions?) of citizens, with backgrounds similar to mine, who are also not a threat to public safety?

The mere possession of a firearm by millions law-abiding citizens who have demonstrated responsibility and trustworthiness, is not and should not be a crime just because a miniscule fraction of the population chooses to be irresponsible, untrustworthy, and ultimately criminal. It's the criminals who should be held accountable for their crimes. Firearms owners are not "guilty by association" not should they be treated as potential criminals.

New and stricter gun control legislation will only punish those who already obey the law. It would be like punishing all those who drive cars just because a small few choose to drink and drive. It would be like punishing all Muslims just because a small few choose to commit acts of terror.

The killings in Newtown, like mass-killings elsewhere in our country, were an act of sheer, unimaginable, incomprehensible horror. "Something" does, in fact, need to be done to ensure this type of activity doesn't happen again. This "something", however, should not be an infringement of the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. Enacting new legislation restricting lawful firearms ownership is not the solution; it would only increase the number of those susceptible to violence as they'd be unable to defend themselves.

Lawful firearm ownership is not a crime and law-abiding forearms owners should not be considered criminals (potential or otherwise). All of the mass killings in this country have been perpetrated by individuals who'd previously demonstrated significant mental instability. The real crime is that these mentally unstable individuals were allowed to walk our streets freely despite their well-documented history of illness. If our elected leaders are serious about reducing firearms-related violence -- and they should be -- then the solution must start with removing from our streets the mentally unstable; those who are truly a threat.