In his Jan. 14 column, Bill Nemitz asks a very direct question. “Who needs a gun with a 33-round magazine?” I would like to offer this answer. “Any American who wants one.”

It seems Mr. Nemitz lacks the imagination to understand why anyone would need such a thing, but I’ll not make suppositions. Instead I’d like to suggest that if we are going to ban things that are “un-needed” in the interest of “public safety,” let’s at least get the most out of it.

Cigarettes and all other tobacco products would have be the first to be banned. They kill millions of people in the nation every year and in fact, thousands every day! Is there anyone who could come up with a rational argument to keep tobacco products available to the American public based on “need”? I can’t.

Alcohol would be next. Where is the “need” to drink? In the state of Maine we had 155 drunken driving deaths in 2008 (the most recent year I could find data).

It seems to me that if we ban alcohol, we’d save about 155 lives every year. Why don’t we do that? Why aren’t the people (or Mr. Nemitz) who are calling for the high capacity magazine ban (or any other firearms-related ban) calling for such bans on alcohol and tobacco?

Could it be that they are reasonable enough to see that the freedom to use alcohol and tobacco is necessary in a free society?

Living in such a society with personal liberties and freedoms comes with risks and dangers. The risks, dangers and consequences of alcohol, tobacco and firearms are the price we pay to live with those personal liberties and freedom.

Benjamin Franklin said it very well, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”