LETTER: Reasonable regulations wouldn’t infringe on gun owners’ rights

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

Once again Kirk Smith is attempting to persuade people that the Second Amendment was always about individual rights as opposed to a state militia. In the 1868 publication of Edmund G. Ross’s treatise on the impeachment of President Johnson, the author specifically refers to state militias. Ross was a captain in the Eleventh Kansas Infantry (a state militia) during the Civil War, and later a senator from Kansas during the impeachment hearings. ...

Mr. Smith is objecting to an analysis of the Second Amendment by an English teacher (Letters, Feb. 27) with the words of a newspaper columnist. I’m more inclined to believe the teacher’s interpretation.

Let us assume that we agree with Mr. Smith and the Supreme Court’s activist reinterpretation of the amendment, changing its meaning, thus making the “right of the people” phrase dominant over the “well-regulated militia” phrase and changing more than 100 years of precedents.

Let’s instead talk about gun control in the form of licensing and registration. There is nothing in the amendment that would preclude the government from forcing everybody to have a license to own a firearm and to register that firearm for the purposes of tracking that weapon should it be used in a crime. There is nothing in the amendment that would preclude the government from determining what types of weapons can be owned by the general public; neither would infringe on anyone’s rights to own a weapon. You would still be allowed to arm yourself.

The First Amendment gives everyone the freedom of speech, but one is not permitted to yell “fire” in a crowded building when there is no fire. The amendment also gives freedom of the press, but the press can be sued for libel. The Constitution gives every citizen the right to vote, but one is required to register in advance and prove residency.

In these cases, the government established regulations that were necessary. It has been done in the past, and it needs to be done with firearms. The precedent has been established.

The whole purpose of gun control is an attempt to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. An honest, law-abiding citizen would not have a problem getting a license for a gun, but the idea that anyone can walk into a gun show and buy one is scary.

Neil Rotter

Sanford