Letter to the editor: State Rep candidate says guns allowed in Frankfort, but not umbrellas

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday a few men walked around the Kentucky State Capitol carrying semi-automatic weapons for a “pro gun rally” advocating for their rights to own guns and lobby againt red flag laws.

First, no one is trying to take away anyone’s rights to lawfully own a firearm. Second, the argument that red flag laws would take away due process for citizens is simply false. Red flag laws would assist law enforcement and medical professionals in temporarily prohibiting a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others from having a firearm until seen before a judge within 48-72 hours. Then, in front of a judge, law enforcement or medical professionals would state under oath why the individual was considered a risk and should not have a firearm for a period of time, and the individual would be able to argue their case as to why they are not a threat.

How people are allowed inside the Kentucky Capitol with a firearm, or any government building for that matter, is beyond my comprehension. Three weeks ago on the rainy day of December 16, 2019 when lawmakers weren’t in the building, I went to the Capitol to file my papers with the Secretary of State to officially become a candidate for State Representative and was prohibited from taking an umbrella inside. To enter the building I also had to empty the content of my pockets, including my cell phone, in order to enter through a metal detector for the security of those working inside. And now that lawmakers are back in session, people with guns are allowed in the building? If you can take a gun in the Capitol, what is the point of the metal detectors – to monitor people carrying cell phones and wearing belts?

Last year the Republican controlled legislature, at the urging of the NRA, passed legislation eliminating training and a permit to carry a concealed weapon, thus also allowing citizens to carry weapons into legislative meetings. How is it that a person walking around the State House openly carrying semi-automatic weapons makes for a safe work place and is not meant to be threatening or intimidating? Without red flag laws, how do we know if one of these people may be considered unstable by a medical professional or a threat by law enforcement? If this person heard a lawmaker say something they don’t like, what’s to say they wouldn’t potentially put that weapon to use? Do we really want to wait until an incident occurs to think, “Hum, maybe we should have done something differently?”

The United States Constitution says “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bare arms, shall not be infringed.” 𝘼 𝙬𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙧𝙚𝙜𝙪𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙈𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙖, 𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙣𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙖𝙧𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙖 𝙛𝙧𝙚𝙚 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚. I highly doubt the framers of the Constitution were talking about some guys driving around in a Ford F-250 with semi-automatic weapons. And seriously, who believes the United States is even close to not being a free country – instead a country ruled by a King with no judiciary or legislative branches?

Kentucky averages around 700 gun deaths every year — the 15th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States. Gun deaths in the state have increased 22% from 2008 to 2016.

If you combine the populations of Great Britain, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark you get a population roughly the size of the United States. In 2019 there were 15,304 gun related deaths in the US. All those countries combined had 112. The question I now raise is: are Americans simply more homicidal by nature or do you think perhaps those other countries have fewer gun related deaths because they have gun control laws and red flag laws?

And finally, items prohibited in the Kentucky Capitol include: outside fast food, toilet paper, toilet plungers, umbrellas, loud noise devices, and sticks that may cause a safety hazard to employees or visitors. Just think about it.

Justin Bramhall, Democratic State Representative Candidate (KY-79)