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Letters to the Editor - Feb. 20

February 20, 2013

Until change is made, we must respect Constitution

To the editor:

From time to time, I see letters that indicate the writers interpret the Second Amendment to mean the federal government has the power to restrict the types of arms an American citizen can own. That is not the case. The amendment says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It doesn’t say muskets shall not be infringed, or hunting rifles shall not be infringed, etc.

The Second Amendment and indeed all of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were placed there to protect us (the ordinary citizens) from government.  Our founding fathers used the word arms instead of using something more explicit, like muskets, because they knew that over time, advances would be made in weaponry. They wanted the citizens to have weapons that were powerful enough to stand up to the government, should it become tyrannical like the one in England that they were able to get rid of using arms. The United States would not exist if it were not for the fact that the people here were able to own guns.

So, for now, it is important that we respect our Founding Fathers and the ideas that they wrote into our Constitution. For those of you that think there should be restrictions on guns, or anything else, the Founding Fathers were smart enough to make the constitution changeable. The Constitution has been amended many times. Article 5 of the Constitution provides us with a mechanism to change the Constitution anytime we feel it is necessary and prudent. I suggest to anyone who thinks things need to be changed to go about it in a lawful and constitutional way. Propose an amendment to the Constitution and work to have it ratified. Until then, respect what the Constitution clearly says “shall not be infringed.”

James Dupont
Berkeley Springs, W.Va.


Truck inspections in borough need further review

To the editor:

After months of activism by the Chamber of Commerce, community business vigilance and communication, Mercersburg (Pa.) Mayor James Zeger said in a Feb. 11 council meeting that he would suspend truck inspections during the first quarter, saying “the debate has already done enough damage in the community.”

Of course, we want safe trucks and safe, properly licensed drivers operating on our roadways. That was never the question. The question was why a small town with a population of 1,606 people and six police officers felt the need to add a seventh officer assigned to perform DOT inspections. Any sworn officer already has the power to stop any vehicle for a traffic violation and check inspection, CDL, physical card and license.

The police chief, in a public forum, stated the department was performing MCSAP (Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program) inspections due to the rural roads and mountains. The MCSAP program is only money funneled down from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to Pennsylvania State Police and the Public Utility Commission to pay for inspections. Mercersburg is currently not receiving any of those funds but is paying the bill for the officer and equipment from its police budget, which has increased 65 percent.

Mercersburg has a legal right to perform these inspections, since it has a properly licensed officer, but I feel it is a misuse of taxpayer dollars. By the standards of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these inspections must be conducted at locations that are adequate to protect the safety of drivers and enforcement personnel. On the side of a two-lane road does not meet the standard or intent of the law. These are some of the important reasons why I object to the actions of this mayor and police chief.

Dwayne Johnson
Saint Thomas, Pa.

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