Keep 'em out in the open

Larry Pratt runs an organization called Gun Owners of America.

His policy on guns makes the National Rifle Association seem almost mainstream and reasonable.

Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog organization, now wonders why the media keep giving this guy air time and space in mainstream newspapers to spew what it calls “extremist views.”

I think I can answer that one. It’s called freedom of speech.

Let me stipulate that I oppose Pratt’s views with every fiber of my being. Media Matters takes its opposition a step further, accusing him of making anti-Semitic statements and espousing “insurrection” against the government.

Well, we have laws against “insurrection” talk. They call such rhetoric “sedition,” and it’s dangerous, indeed, to hear such language coming from supposedly responsible American citizens.

I generally tune this guy out. He’s one of those Second Amendment purists who believes any effort to regulate firearms is tantamount to tearing up the U.S. Constitution and throwing it in the trash. It is utter hogwash to believe such a thing.

I met Pratt once, in Beaumont, where he came to talk to my editor and me about gun-owner rights. My editor, who’s since retired, happens to be a gun enthusiast himself and is — or at least was — an NRA member. We differed from time to time on gun policy issues, but since I worked for him, I relented in my view about these matters.

My strong belief in freedom of speech in the First Amendment, though, requires that we give this individual the opportunity to speak his mind.

Besides, a friend once offered this piece of wisdom regarding those with ideas that some may consider to be those of crackpots: It’s better to keep them out in the open — in plain sight — than to let them scurry around in the darkness.

Let the bozos speak.