Readers Have a Right
I am writing in response to Debra Paulson’s Jan. 2 letter [“Gun Ads Unfit for Community Newspaper”] in the Valley Courier, in which she opposed the ads by CT Reloading LLC. I find it hard to accept that people would be upset by the gun images in the ad, when people are constantly shown images of guns (often in an irresponsible manner) on TV, movies, and video games.
I agree with Editor Brian Boyd’s position that the Valley Courier would be wrong to deny CT Reloading its First Amendment rights because some have a perceived objection. Therefore, the Valley Courier should continue to run the ads by CT Reloading LLC.
Also, I want to enlighten readers regarding the comments by Ms. Paulson about handguns and her implication about gun owners—she states “guns whose purpose is to kill people, as handguns are.” In contrast to her characterization, each year about 14 million Americans safely use handguns for target and recreational shooting. I personally attend many shooting competitions, where everyone has a handgun plus 150 to 300 rounds of ammunition and no one gets shot.
Yes, handguns are used in crimes but are also used many times for self-defense. The specific numbers can be debated, but what has proven to be true is that crime rates for responsible handgun owners are exceptionally low.
Ms. Paulson implies that gun owners can’t have a respectful conversations or be empathetic for others in the community. However, in my experience, the overwhelming majority of handgun users are sociable, respectful citizens.
Her misleading statements should not dictate the advertising of a legal product, infringing on CT Reloading’s First Amendment rights and not determine what Valley Courier readers have a right to see.
Editor’s note: As noted in my Jan. 2 response to Debra Paulson’s letter, the First Amendment does not guarantee the right of a business to advertise in this paper, though we chose to accept the ads in question under our interpretation of the spirit of the First Amendment, which is to protect freedom of expression.