Letter to the Editor: Gun control statements need to be challenged


It’s probably futile, and perhaps even dangerous, to write about the Second Amendment, gun control, etc.  Most people’s minds are made up.  And some gun advocates and their organizations are threatening and bullying.  But some statements on the subject — even by presidential candidates — are so mindless and wrong that they cannot stand unchallenged.

We begin by agreeing that the Second  Amendment now gives individuals the right to bear arms.  As other issues demonstrate, the law changes.

Since we’re in constitutional territory, we note that the First Amendment, from the date of its enactment, could hardly be more clear and unequivocal.  In pertinent part, it says:

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.

It has long been the law that this prohibition likewise applies to state and local government. Yet federal, state and local governments have passed countless laws “abridging” the freedom of speech.  For example, probably the most cliché-ridden is the rule against yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.  An entire field of law deals with child pornography.  Few jurisdictions lack rules against using bullhorns at night.  Requirements are nearly universal that demonstrations must have permits or licenses that limit their hours and locations.  Pornography may now be okay (but not obscenity).  Slander and liable are still on the books though seldom enforced.

It’s obvious that reasonable, common sense limitations have long been upheld on a basic freedom set out, without exception, in our most revered document, the Constitution.

Yet, even trivial or modest (to say nothing of reasonable) limitations on the right to bear arms are portrayed as violations of the Second Amendment.  Odd, to say the least, given the language of an amendment so ambiguous that it has taken almost the entire history of our nation to be given its present interpretation.  Even the court’s opinion giving this reading recognizes that reasonable exceptions might follow.

But the National Rifle Association and some politicians insist that the Second Amendment is immune from any restrictions whatever.  Wonder what their view would be if one of our neighbors turned up with a nuclear weapon?

Robert Lowerre, Woodstock