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Letter: His moral quandary

Mr. Charles Ricko is no doubt familiar with the attitudes of his community, but far from a vast majority of U.S. citizens agreeing with him; the most recent polling shows large majorities of actual gun owners in favor of the reforms being proposed and the percentages only rise from there. Perhaps this is why he declines to enumerate any of the changes which he deems unacceptable.

Of course, the popularity of any given policy is, by and large irrelevant, when constitutional protections are at issue, but even after a few right-wing radicals (ironically calling themselves “originalists”) discovered in the Second Amendment an individual’s right to own firearms, which judicial worthies had somehow missed in the previous 200 years, there is no constitutional bar for any of the proposals, only political ones.

The tradition of civil disobedience in America is long and has much to commend it. The decision of any citizen to break the law as a matter of principle is and should be a difficult one or the act would not carry the weight of sacrifice. The decision must be even more difficult for one who is charged with upholding the laws, and I do not fault Mr. Ricko for his convictions or suggest that he takes this stand lightly. Even so, an officer of the court, if faced with a moral quandary such as his, should not assert a unilateral power to make judicial pronouncements and disregard laws as he sees fit. Beyond a reasonable degree of discretion, and allowing for a prioritization in expending limited resources, he should not think himself free to abandon his responsibilities. If he truly cannot countenance adherence to it, he should consider resignation before publicly announcing his intention to flout the law.



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