Concerning the issue of gun control and the right to bear arms, we - editorially speaking - usually have marched down the middle of the road, criticizing the extremists shouting at us from each berm.
The debate over this issue never would have been so nasty if the authors of the Bill of Rights had not been so ambiguous in their writing of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
As it is, we have one fringe claiming the government can and should confiscate everyone's guns, and the other fringe claiming that we'd all be better off if everyone carried a gun.
We do not question the right of law-abiding citizens to protect their homes, but we have questioned why so many people have acquired licenses to carry concealed weapons, and we wonder why many of them feel the need to do so.
What is the rationale for an average citizen - a newspaper editor, if you will - to have a permit to carry a pistol in the glove compartment of his car?
The debate is hardly a new one. We need only go back 130 years to prove it. The following are excerpts from an editorial published right here in The Daily Evening Reporter in March 7, 1878, under the headline, "Secret Weapons":
"Why any man, young or old, should carry an offensive weapon upon his person in a community like this, seems to us unaccountable except upon two considerations; either he is savagely inclined and meditates a cowardly assault upon some person, or he is a coward who fears that some person will make an assault upon him which can only be repelled by the use of the knife or pistol. A man who gives no cause of offense to any body, must certainly be moved by great fear, when he supposes it necessary to be armed for self defense ...