LETTER: Gun violence calls for reasonable solutions

Feb. 13, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

More than 200 years ago, the founding fathers developed a strategy for preserving order and safety in the new republic, relying upon the only resources at their disposal. Washington's army was disbanding, with Congress wrangling over back wages and pensions. The militias, formed by volunteers with crude weapons by modern standards, was the only peace-keeping force in local communities. The Second Amendment did not concern itself with recreational uses of firearms or the defense of one’s home and property, only the preservation of a free state against the threat of domestic and foreign enemies. The founding fathers certainly did not intend for the Second Amendment to protect us from an “overreaching government,” as an editorial in The Sanford Herald recently suggested.

In the 19th century, a national guard evolved from the militias, and professional law enforcement agencies began to displace local militias. It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court, as presently constituted, does not have the historical perspective and judicial objectivity to make this important clarification.

Those who zealously guard their Second Amendment rights need to understand that a free state is no longer dependent upon a well-regulated militia. Local law enforcement agencies no longer need well-armed citizens to carry out their initiatives. Public safety is not enhanced by the proliferation of rapid-fire automatic weapons in the community. Neither is public safety enhanced by the absence of any effective controls over the purchase of dangerous weapons.

The preamble of our Constitution displays an appropriate concern for justice, domestic tranquility and the general welfare of the people. The level of gun violence in our country, one of the worst among developed nations, should motivate all of us to seek reasonable and effective solutions to the current crisis.

Thomas K. Spence Jr.