Letter: Understanding the Heller decision

Published: 4/28/2018 12:01:08 AM

I was very alarmed at Joe Sweeney’s “My Turn” (Sunday Monitor Forum, April 22) because of either the lack of understanding or the intentional misdirection about the Second Amendment by Sweeney and the New Hampshire Young Republicans.

I am urging the Young Republicans to include the full scope of applicable gun rights laws and opinions when they are presenting information on this issue.

In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the meaning of the Second Amendment in what is commonly referred to as the “Heller decision.” Chief Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion for the court that the right of gun ownership applies to individuals, not just in connection with a “well-regulated militia.” He next stated: “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.”

Then the chief justice continued to state that regulations and prohibitions on the types, use and sale of firearms are also allowed and protected under the Second Amendment. He included many specific examples of regulations that are protected, such as “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings” and “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill.”

The full meaning of the Heller decision must be understood and included in any training or education program on so called “Second Amendment rights.” The significance of Heller is that both gun ownership and gun regulations are Second Amendment rights, as the Young Republicans are using those words. To teach the right of ownership and ignore the right to regulate is dishonest, dangerous and I believe, as a Vietnam Era Veteran, unpatriotic. It is clearly intended to undermine the Constitution I swore a duty to defend.



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