Letter: The Founders didn’t envision this debate over guns

Sunday, October 08, 2017

At the time of the Revolution, 13 steps were needed to reload and fire a musket. It took an average colonist a-minute-and-a-half to fire two rounds. It took an expert militiaman 30 seconds. ​Therefore, when the Bill of Rights was drafted, an expert marksman could fire two rounds in one minute.

They didn’t conceive of guns capable of firing more than 100 rounds per minute. And even with the limited technology of the time, the Founders hadn’t intended the Amendment to guarantee an individual’s unrestrained right to stockpile weapons for personal reasons. The Amendment was intended to reduce states’ fear of being overrun by a standing federal army by protecting state militias.

Two hundred years of jurisprudence followed the Founders’ narrow view of the Amendment. So let’s stop pretending the modern overly broad reading of the Second Amendment is based on the Founders’ intent. And let’s take an honest look at its impact.

In 1996, in Dunblane, Scotland, a gunman murdered 16 young children and their teacher. In response, Great Britain enacted strong restrictions on the private ownership and storage of guns. There has been one mass shooting in the entire U.K. since. In 1999, two students murdered 12 classmates and one teacher at Columbine High School. Instead of gun laws, politicians and the gun lobby that owns them offered their thoughts and prayers.

Those thoughts and prayers didn’t stop the tragedies at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Pulse Nightclub, the Aurora Theater, a Las Vegas concert, and elsewhere.

It’s time politicians offered more than thoughts and prayers.

Malia Ebel