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Letter: Focus on the ammo

The Second Amendment states “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.”

Right-wingnuts are notoriously strict constructionists – interpreting the Constitution to mean what it meant when drafted. However, this philosophy is conveniently ignored when it comes to the Second Amendment. Ignored is the caveat “a well-regulated militia. . . .” Moreover, using strict construction, the Second Amendment provides only a right to keep and bear muskets and flintlocks. Can any reasonable person think the framers imagined a weapon that could fire multiple rounds per second?

Even if the Second Amendment is interpreted in a manner that ignores the first clause and includes a right to possess modern “arms,” said “arms” are firearms, which is the physical weapon. There is no mention of ammunition in the Second Amendment and thus no constitutional right to manufacture, sell, own or possess ammunition, or unlimited quantities thereof.

If those who wish to enact sensible gun laws would focus on ammunition and not the guns, the only danger a firearm would present is if it is thrown at someone. More important, it would “dis-arm” much of the rhetoric heard from the gun nuts.



Legacy Comments8

HHS now has more ammo than the is time for Americans to be very afraid.........Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is using roughly 1,000 rounds of ammunition more per person than the U.S. Army, as he and other lawmakers sharply questioned DHS officials on their “massive” bullet buys.

Some notes -- and far from the first time here or virtually anywhere: The Supreme Court has recently ruled quite unambiguously that the "well regulated militia" clause is not a "caveat", but rather a "prefatory clause" to the "operative" clause "shall not be restricted". From the "Heller" ruling:  "The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms." In the cause of defining context, it might help to compare generational context with idealistic purpose for the first amendment. Should we say that free speech should only be guaranteed for shouting on a street corner, but not for radio, tv, or internet whch the "fathers" could hardly have imagined? Similarly, the clear purpose of the First has in common such as a pragmatically clear purpose of the Second: Free speech is worthless without current transmission, defense in some sense is worthless without current implementation. I might, however, quite contrarily add that the Second Amendment might in fact be repealed on the grounds that a presumable purpose of citizen defense against totalitarian government can no longer be so much as attempted merely by an armed citizenry. Justification for "gun rights" ought to be expressed, as for any rights, in current context.

Heller...Do you think anyone that uses "wing nuts" and "gun nuts" even knows what Heller is??? Great comment btw.

The Heller decision was a divided 5-4 vote, and is, to say the least, a controversial decision that history will likely judge as harshly as Bush v. Gore. In contrast, the 1939 Miller decision stressing the importance of the 'militia' clause to a historical understanding of the 2nd Amendment was a unanimous decision, from a court not known for unanimity. And that Court felt so strongly about the decision that it was read aloud from the bench. There is no historical justification for reading the 2nd Amendment as intended to protect citizens from their government, nor can any reasonable reading of it be used to justify owning grenade launchers, flame-throwers, or 50 cal. machine guns. Neither the 1st nor the 2nd is absolute--as even the Heller decision affirms.

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."

Nothing in the Heller decision "should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."--Antonin Scalia, "Heller vs District of Columbia"

Bruce, a very imaginative posting. When was the last time you saw flamethrowers, grenade launchers, machine guns or 50 caliber weapons in Concord? Where have you seen these things in real life? Anywhere? I know where people see these things; in the hands of Hollywood Obama donors - every single week in movies, TV shows and computer games. I should think anyone serious about violence would work on the problem, not just a symptom. Addressing violence as a whole could help keep people safe from gun violence but also possibly impact stabbings, beatings, poisonings. Would you not like to see people protected from these other forms of violence? If yes suggestion could be made to send negative feedback the Hollywood in the computer game makers. If not then it's just more pure partisan politics

Those who treat the 2nd Amendment as an absolute might feel otherwise. Those weapons are simply one remove from assault rifles and 30 round magazines, as assault rifles and high capacity clips are a remove from a bolt-action rifle and a six-gun. Though I agree with you about Hollywood action movies and the entertainment industry. But that industry holds a mirror up to society, reflecting who we are, and what we might become. The movies mostly embody the NRA message: the only thing between a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

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