Time for gun debate

To the Editor: A recent letter stated that the Second Amendment "is an integral part of checks and balances that upholds the Constitution.” This is irrelevant to the debate our country is having in response to the slaughter of children in Connecticut.
Jan 16, 2013

 

No one is proposing amending or repealing the Second Amendment. No one is proposing banning all firearms. That would be unconstitutional, as legal precedent was set in the Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller. In his majority opinion, Justice Scalia wrote, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”  

But Scalia also wrote: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” And, “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on ... laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

U.S. v. Miller holds that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”  

What is relevant are what measures can be taken to diminish the risk and damage of possible future mass shootings. Are requiring background checks for all firearm transactions simply “imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” as stated above? Are semiautomatic assault-style firearms and high-capacity cartridges “dangerous and unusual weapons," not “in common use at the time"?

It’s time to have these debates. I don’t know what, if any, measures will be taken, but I do know that we shouldn’t let the extreme fringes in this debate make these decisions for us.   

— David Hanson, Spring Lake Township

Comments

MR. WILLIAMS

I have never found a section of the Constitution where it stated that, “everyday common citizens cannot surely understand the Amendments and writings in the Constitution, therefore only Supreme Court Justices and Legal Scholars can translate and understand these writings.” I have a different take on the Constitution and Bill of Rights which is these two founding documents of this nation were written in a way so all people could understand their meaning, but no sooner did the ink dry on them did Scholars of higher education start claiming exclusivity of Constitutional understanding was theirs and the common citizen could never understand these scholarly documents and the debate has been twisted and tangled in confusion ever since, for those claiming to be Constitutional Experts, however, for us simple minded common citizens we have a different take and I’ll speak for myself. I have found no indications of secret codes or writing between the lines of the Constitutional documents and cannot understand for the life of me how all of the Constitutional Experts can write thousands of pages and even entire books on what the, Second Amendment really means. For everyone’s sake here is the Second Amendment as it is in the Constitution:

Article [II.]
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.

So, I have to wonder, WTF is so complicated about, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” For general purposes I think we can all agree that an “Arm” refers to a “Gun.” And, “…shall not be infringed”
meaning the right of the people to keep and bear arms, where that “right” cannot be breached, broken, taken away, or disobeyed. This is so simple, I don’t know how the founding fathers could have written it using any simpler words, yet, just look at the national and international discussion that’s taking place at this very moment 237 years later, and this debate is still raging. I just can’t understand what is so confusing when referring to a hand operated mechanism that shoots projectiles, as a gun is a gun and no further reference or statement in the Constitution indicates in specificity of how that gun should operate be it a Single Action, Double Action, Revolver, Semi-automatic or Fully-automatic gun is not indicated anywhere in the Constitution that I could find, but today’s explosive and over exaggerated argument on gun ownership I think is a complete smokescreen to hide the fact that some people only want one thing, which is, banning all guns from citizen ownership leaving the only arms (guns) in the hands of criminals, terrorists, Law Enforcement and the Military. Let’s go back for a moment to 1776 where citizen’s, criminals, law enforcement, and the Military all had guns, Hmmm? Not much different from today. Bad things happened then and in fact bad things where innocent masses of people died has taken place throughout the history of mankind and the balance has been the people who didn’t want people innocently killed and murdered had the means to fight back and it sure as hell wasn’t with opinions or words, rather with like weapons that could prevent the criminal elements from overtaking the populous. It’s as simple as this; if you, your spouse, and your children were all asleep one night and you heard a loud crashing noise, mumbled voices, and what sounded like more than one person coming upstairs where now your children were in their bedroom and you and your spouse in yours and you look down the darkened hallway to see a large framed figure going towards your children’s bedroom and one towards yours and even though you called 911 they were not there yet and you have no way of stopping these people except by sacrificing your own body by attacking them in effort to save your children, but they quickly either shoot, stab, or beat you into submission and tie you up and then proceed to physically assault your spouse and children in front of your and then you in front of them and finally murdering everyone except you, because now the Police have arrived, but the assailants managed to escape to be hopefully caught at a later time. You may have had a real fighting chance if you had some kind of weapon, however you don’t believe in weapons so the scenario played out to have a devastating and tragic ending for you and your family. Hopefully nothing like this hasn’t happened to you or the ones you love, however never get trapped in the “this will never happen to me fantasy land.” It’s not a healthy place to reside.

rukidding

Because I strongly believe that enumerated rights should be interpreted broadly, I'm pleased to see that people are actually upset about possible limitations on their 2nd Amendment rights (even if I think that many of those people are vastly over-stating the nature of the proposed limitations). But it troubles me that many of the people now pushing for a broad interpretation of the 2nd Amendment (especially politicians and talking heads) seem to have a very narrow understanding of, and limited interest in, the 1st (especially with respect to the establishment and free exercise clauses), the 4th (especially when it comes to racial and religious minorities), the 5th and 6th (especially with respect to indigent criminal defendants), the 8th (in all respects), and the 14th (especially with respect to equal protection). Is it too much to hope that this sudden rights excitement leads to, among many other things, a stronger push to end 'stop and frisk' and racial profiling, to adequately (and generously) fund indigent defense, to abolish the death penalty and mandatory minimums, to develop alterntives to incarceration, and to improve prison conditions? Probably. But a guy can dream, right?

Lanivan

Dreams are nice, but they need to be supported by education, authentic debate, and public involvement in order to stand up to the tsunami of misinformation, lack of debate, and closed-door deals that seems to accompany recent attempts to hollow out our rights.

In the case of the 2nd Amendment, the NRA has basically taken ownership of our rights (in every sense of the word). Lots of power and money are dynamics that apparently can make dreams of common sense gun public policy almost, but not entirely, impossible. When NRA lobbyists representing gun manufacturers can hijack the debate on our constitutional rights, and influence many who think Obama's recent gun policies, which are essentially modeled after former president's policies (and deemed constitutional), such as Ronald Reagan, are extraordinary and unconstitutional, we have a big problem.

Whether anti- or pro- gun safety policies, we need to be aware, and I think the process has started, of fringe forces attempting to take ownership of the constitutional rights of the American people. To quote Obama, "the only way we can change is if the American people demand it".

dyankee

Lan- I'll support the banning of firearm ownership by felons or the mentally ill if you, support the banning of abortions.(just like our President said yesterday, compromise...right?) You want to have a debate about the "slaughter of our children" David Hanson then, lets have one, you jackass.

Lanivan

Hey, d - I'm hoping the term "jackass" was a typo, and not directed at me (or David Hanson). I know from past experience we can talk without anger - remember Pink Floyd and Tip-A-Few burritos?

You're looking at the big picture, and it brings up some good points. The sanctity of life, both before and after birth, is the key to this whole mess. We have to look at the whole "enchilada", so to speak - and respect and value our neighbors from conception on. If we ban abortions, we need to have access to contraception, help for those born disabled, born into severe poverty and dysfunction, and measures in place to protect our women who find themselves in the midst of life-threatening medical crises. We must work hard to create an economic environment that will support families, and provide education to give confidence. Without these, the banning of abortions is just a way to control and weaken women.

We then have to look at gun safety policy. Things like background checks, banning military-style assault weapons, especially from felons and the mentally ill, as you state, limiting gun purchases per month, etc, are ways to protect those children. Without them, guns then have more rights than the children we want to protect.

Wish it were as black and white as you suggest, but it never is.

Dewey Hill

dynakee:

It appears that you've missed the point of this debate. The subject is the second amendment and the DC v. Heller decision. Abortion is not relevant. Also, better manners would be appreciated.

Wingmaster

Hey, look at the bright side Dyank, the Pres has finally done something to get the economy going...guns and ammo are flying off the shelf.

Don't worry he is over reaching before his second term even begins. He will leave office scratching and digging for his legacy because he is jerking so hard to the left the country will not follow. This gun thing is just one of the things that will blow up in his face as there are many Dems out there that want semi autos, clips and ammo that he is trying to do away with. The low information voter will connect the dots when they find out the Messiah wants to take away access to a firearm they enjoy.

Take a deep breath and don't let this libs get your goat with their nonsense.

Wingmaster

Hey, look at the bright side Dyank, the Pres has finally done something to get the economy going...guns and ammo are flying off the shelf.

Don't worry he is over reaching before his second term even begins. He will leave office scratching and digging for his legacy because he is jerking so hard to the left the country will not follow. This gun thing is just one of the things that will blow up in his face as there are many Dems out there that want semi autos, clips and ammo that he is trying to do away with. The low information voter will connect the dots when they find out the Messiah wants to take away access to a firearm they enjoy.

Take a deep breath and don't let this libs get your goat with their nonsense.

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