Letter: Founding fathers would be appalled
Even in a democracy, there are few if any absolute rights. Freedom of speech does not extend to slander, libel or lying under oath. Freedom of religion does not extend to human sacrifice. “We the people,” along with our judicial system, are constantly balancing individual versus communal rights.
The gun lobby has imposed on us the idea of an absolute right to gun ownership. But increasing numbers of Americans are deciding that a child’s right to be safe in school, at church, at the movies, at a mall and at home takes precedence over a supposed right to acquire unlimited weapons of mass destruction.
Anyone who reads the Second Amendment in its historic context can see that it confers no absolute right to acquire guns. It is explicitly and entirely conditional on the assumption of a “well-regulated militia,” which is an obvious anachronism today. The gun lobby ignores the first clause, and makes Holy Writ of the second.
The only concern of the authors of the Second Amendment was to assure the original colonies, who had just fought a war for independence and were skittish about joining a federal union, that yes, they could keep their militias; no one would try to disarm them.
Our founding fathers would be appalled to see their careful, judicious work used to justify the rising tide of assault weapons in a nation they dreamed would protect “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”