Shooting from the lip: Residents speak out

Posted: Sunday, April 09, 2000

"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."

- United States Constitution, Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

In the wake of local and national incidents of gun violence, members of the peninsula community were asked, "How should the second amendment right to keep and bear arms apply today?"

Their answers follow.

n Patti Truesdell, a 48-year-old full-time student from Soldotna, said she thinks middle ground is where the truth lies. She said those proposing some sort of gun limitations are on the right track, but that she wouldn't want someone to tell her or her family to give up their guns. But, she said, "I don't think (people) have the right to own an Uzi."

n Jim Beeson, 36, a teacher of math, business and physical education at Kenai Central High School, said he thinks something has to be done about increased violence.

"I think that the problem is getting worse and worse as we go along," he said. "It is a few bad apples screwing things up for everybody else."

n Gary Davis, 54, state legislator representing the Soldotna-Seward area, said he doesn't mind a degree of regulation but still believes in the fundamental right to own a gun.

"I certainly don't agree with the outright banning of guns," Davis said.

n Tim Navarre, 45, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member, said there needs to be balance in the issue of gun safety.

"There needs to be some discussion on what kind of safeguards to put in place," he said. "But there still needs to be the protection of the right to bear arms."

n Phillip Carpenter, 22, a Nikiski resident and Alaska Maritime Agencies worker, said the right to keep and bear arms has been distorted by self-serving lawyers and politicians for quite a few years. Those in the "driver's seat" of the judicial system have altered the applied meaning of the law to their own intent, he said, and there should be no question as to the applicability of the Second Amendment.

"I enjoy shooting firearms. It is a hobby. Once again, this should be all that needs to be said in defense of the right to own a firearm," Carpenter said. "I dare anyone to tell me that I cannot do something that I enjoy."

n Phillip Kensinger, a 15-year-old Nikiski resident who is recovering from an accidental gunshot wound, said other than the use of guns for self-defense, he sees no point in having one.

"It is good in a way, it just depends on how you use it,"he said.

n Billy Harris, 60, Nikiski Fire Chief, said he believes in the Second Amendment.

"I believe we should be allowed to have firearms," he said

n Jim Doepken, 30, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the New Covenant in Kenai, said biblically, the notion of rights doesn't get much attention.

"I'd need to interpret this amendment in light of the fact that I am called to love my enemies, including anyone at whom I might choose to point my gun," he said. "Loving people, I imagine, is difficult to do while shooting them full of lead at the same time."

Doepken said that because of his views, he has chosen his right to not have a gun.

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