Letter: The Right to Guns
To the Editor:
The column by Fred Hiatt of The Washington Post (“Searching for the Tipping Point that Will Allow Gun Control”) goes straight to the question of how we are to get gun control. He reviews several other political arenas and looks at the “focused, passionate, unyielding and indefatigable” methods used in the fights for the legalization of marijuana, school reform and tougher laws against drunk driving.
When the U.S. Constitution was being considered for ratification several of the states refused to ratify until the specific rights of the populace were spelled out. These specific rights were to prevent the nation from sliding into tyranny.
These rights were organized into the first 10 amendments and came to be called the Bill of Rights.
Here is the second of those 10 amendments:
“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
“Well regulated” — 1791 meaning, not regulated as in lots of regulations, but regulated as in “regular.” That is, equipped and trained regularly, in the same way, and as a group.
“Necessary to the security of a free state.” The Second Amendment guarantees our ability to protect our freedoms from tyranny. These freedoms are “creator given, unalienable” according to the Declaration of Independence.
And “shall not be infringed” — meaning shall not be encroached upon in small ways.
I am so sorry to read that a great newspaper man who would stand up and fight like a grizzly bear if his First Amendment right to freedom of the press were threatened would look so hard for effective methods to remove our Second Amendment right.
Do not these rights issue from precisely the same source?
“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both,” said Benjamin Franklin.