Without citation, Brad Smith of Cumberland recently stated, in a letter to the editor of this publication (Oct. 10), that “over the next decade, approximately 300,000 Americans are going to die because of gun violence.” He laid the blame on “the American obsession with guns and gun rights.”

Mr. Smith supports the erosion of the right “to keep and bear arms.” There have been others in history who advocated for the same: King George III, Mao Zedong and Kim Jong Il. All were authoritarians.

One reason we have the Second Amendment to our Constitution is so we have the means to protect our lives, liberties and our freedoms. The Constitution doesn’t grant us our rights. It merely lists them. Those rights are God-given and can’t be taken away. When a free people allow any government to impose restrictions on their freedoms, they willingly relinquish their protections from tyranny, assault and murder.

Great men in history recognized the importance of free citizens to have the means to protect and defend themselves and knew the necessity of each law-abiding citizen to have the right to keep and bear arms. They all knew that any restriction, once in place, would lead to more restrictions, thus eroding our rights until at some point in time, the people wouldn’t have the means to protect themselves. Those men – including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln – believed strongly in individual freedoms.

It is the duty of every citizen to protect those rights. It is the duty of the government to guarantee those rights. We must not allow the government to intrude into the lives of those it is charged to protect or to seek to restrict our freedoms.

Jones Gallagher

North Berwick