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Your Opinion: ‘Horse sense’ from author of Westerns

Dear Editor:

On a Sunday morning as I was waiting on my spouse for church, I was reading a book by my favorite fictional writer, Louis L’Amour. He is our nation’s foremost storyteller of early America. In this particular novel of the early West, L’Amour’s fictional character was being schooled on defending the use of guns in the Old West, and it reminded me of our nation’s current debate over guns or the Second Amendment of our Constitution.

This fictional account of the book by Louis L’Amour was published by Bantam Books in 1971. This, of course, was long before the current debate about guns in today’s society.

L’Amour’s fictional character, Mr. Chantry, who was from the civilized Northeast was being chastised by a Western cattleman for not wearing a handgun out on the open range, where Indians and bad, unsavory characters could not be trusted. The Western cattleman further explained to Chantry that the law of the East was the same as the law of the West; however, the West had fewer lawmen to enforce the peace. So the Western cattleman said you should always carry your handgun to protect yourself.

This is the actual statement made by L’Amour: “Understand one thing, Mr. Chantry. You can make laws against weapons but they will be observed only by those who don’t intend to use them anyway. The lawless can always smuggle or steal, or even make a gun. By refusing to wear a gun you allow the criminal to operate with impunity.”

Draw your own conclusions, but I believe the fictional account of L’Amour shows more common sense, or as L’Amour would say “horse sense” than all the politicians’ rhetoric we hear today.

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