Posted: January 26, 2013 - 5:28pm
By Todd Staples

I’m sure your heart broke just like mine after hearing the news about the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting that so tragically ended the lives of 20 innocent children and six staff members. As a father, my emotions ranged from utter sadness at the senseless loss of life to rage against the one who could so callously end the boundless future of those so young.

Who wouldn’t do whatever it takes to ensure this never happens again? Any sane person would do whatever necessary. The grim reality is the entire clamor over gun restrictions and gun laws being proposed today would not have saved those poor, innocent children, nor would it deflect the heartache and sting that surely will follow those families for decades.

As a lifelong supporter of the Second Amendment and gun owners’ rights, I had hoped the dialogue following this tragedy would center on school safety and ways to better detect someone so obviously mentally deranged. I also had hoped discussion would turn to intervention techniques to mitigate future acts of such violence. The need for access to firearms for self-protection has not changed since the penning of the Second Amendment, and had a law-abiding civilian been armed or a law enforcement officer been present, he or she could possibly have stopped the shooter at Sandy Hook before lives were taken.

Landowners along the Texas-Mexico border know full well the reason for the Second Amendment, and have to rely on it every day. Dangerous, armed drug cartel members move illegal narcotics across private land on what seems a nightly occurrence. Most everyone tries to avoid any encounter with these narco-terrorists, because they are ruthless beyond description. Many times, these vicious criminals have assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Why should any American citizen have anything less? Why should our government impose restrictions on the innocent to give the bad guys the upper hand? Response time for law enforcement in these rural areas is sometimes just too long. In this instance, the best 911 is often a .308.

I would suggest the reason the loss of life on the U.S. side of the border is at a minimum compared to that on the Mexican side is due, in part, to the fact American citizens are guaranteed by our Constitution with the ability to protect ourselves. We are armed and we will defend our families. I cannot imagine a country where this liberty is limited to our detriment.

Think of it like this: On Monday, our president took the oath of office and then walked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House. During this walk, he was surrounded by men carrying assault-type weapons with high-capacity magazines. All Americans want this protection for him. Should all the rest of us Americans be denied anything less than the opportunity for similar self-protection?

Todd Staples is the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.

Staples: Look at border for gun rights | Amarillo Globe-News