I am a supporter of first amendment, just as I am a supporter of the entire bill of rights. You're article stuck me as juvenile, offensive, and lacking of any supporting facts or statistics. It would help to update your article answering these questions, "How has banning assault rifles been proven to reduce the number of violent gun crimes?", "How many of the violent gun crimes committed are done so with legally owned firearms?", and "Is there any statistically significant correlation between open carry of a firearm and violent crime?". My current state of residence, VA, allows open and concealed carry and has less than half the violent crime per capita as my old state of residence, NJ (which effectively has neither open nor concealed carry and an assault weapons ban). Oddly enough, my apartment was robbed by men with guns in NJ, while I was living in a 'gun free' zone.
I also find it sickening in the idea that you are exploiting the death of the Philadelphia cop to scare people into supporting your beliefs. I doubt an assault rifle ban would have stopped the criminal from acquiring such a weapon. Any similarly biased pro-gun article could quote the famous /Warren vs. District of Columbia/ case where 3 women were raped for 14 hours in their own apartment in DC. They called 911, but when police failed to respond, the city defended itself stating, "A government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen." DC is a gun-free zone.
The parts of the article that offended me (besides the condescending title of the article) were the personal attacks and stereotyping of gun owners. You stereotyped gun owners as bumbling redneck idiots. I myself am a gun owner, hold an engineering degree, and am currently working towards a graduate degree in engineering; I fit your description exactly. Anyone with common sense can see the right to bear arms is protected by the bill of rights and the same is true for your right to free speech. How would you feel if the government only allowed free speech after obtaining a permit and obeying guidelines?
I will agree that both store and restaurant owners have the right to ban firearms, and should do so if they feel the need. If you do not like guns, you can go to those places, and I will go to the others. After Virginia Tech, Delaware State, Northern Illinois, and the other recent school shootings, I learned how safe gun free zones realy are.
I enjoy reading a good article counter to my personal beliefs and actually learning from other view points is how I found some of my beliefs. If you ever write an article without stereotyping, fear mongering, and full of supporting facts, I'd love to read it.
For the record, I have a permit for concealed carry of a handgun and live in a state that permits open carry; personally I rarely carry a handgun openly or concealed. I might just start open carrying now, since you encourage people to call 911 and the police. An unlawful detention happened once in my state for the open carrying of a firearm and it resulted in a 6 months suspension (3 of which were unpaid) and being sent back to the academy for 6 months of remedial training. That sounds like a fitting punishment for the police of Dickson City.