Donald Leavitt: Keeping our rights | SteamboatToday.com

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Donald Leavitt: Keeping our rights

Thank you so much, John Elway. I've been trying to figure out how to write about gun control, but the more words I put on paper, the less legible my thoughts became. You, John, gave me what I needed during your recent CNN interview with Piers Morgan.

To answer your question, John, we are Americans in a free country. We are supposed to get what we need — food, shelter, clothes and transportation — but many Americans don't get their basic needs met. I am a carpenter who hasn't had a steady job in many years. I take any work I can get, including washing dishes at an 80 percent pay cut. I am very thankful that God sees that my needs are met — barely, but met. As Americans, after our needs are met, we are free to want what we want — provided it is within the law.

I also am a hunter. I use my grandfather's hand-me-down Winchester Model 94 made in 1940. With its open sights, I am not comfortable shooting a target beyond 80 yards. This old gun requires gunsmithing to add a scope. Being a family heirloom, I'm not interested in changing it.

So I did my research. Because I have a rotator cuff that likes to pop out, firing a high-power, bolt-action rifle is pretty painful. This summer at the firing range, I met a friend who let me shoot his AR-15 assault rifle. After shooting my gun five times down range and making my shoulder very sore, the AR-15 was a treat with its minimal recoil and incredible accuracy at long range. So I met my friend every Sunday for three months to shoot his gun. We easily spent 1,000 rounds each. If you're going to hunt, you need to be confident in your shooting skills. My arm never was sore after firing the AR-15.

I've read a few articles recently on this subject. I've read that AR-15s aren't very accurate. Not true. I've read that some outfitters have never seen a hunter use an AR-15, AK-47 or SKS. Just because somebody said they haven't seen someone hunting with one doesn't mean people don't use these very accurate semi-automatic rifles to hunt. I've read that a 12-gauge shotgun makes a better home defense gun. Also not true. A 12-gauge is a long and cumbersome gun that kicks like a government mule. All the aforementioned assault rifles are easier to handle, and they automatically load the next round. Just keep pulling the trigger.

So, John, to answer your question: Why would a civilian need a military-style assault rifle? If we don't fight to keep our rights to want what we want, we will lose all the rights we hold dear, one at a time. The powers that be will justify stripping us of all our God-given rights as written in the U.S. Constitution.

Donald Leavitt

Steamboat Springs