I’ve long realized that people on both sides of the gun control issue are firmly entrenched in their positions, and I certainly don’t expect this article to make them reconsider (although it would be nice to hear someone say, “Well, they have a point”). But I do know a significant number of people are in the middle with me on gun ownership and its regulation, and this link is for them.
Excerpts and summary:
“The reality is that members of Congress who wrote the amendment weren’t thinking about the individual right to bear arms. They didn’t have to, because they already took it for granted.
“Every record of the Congress that wrote the (Second) amendment and the state legislatures that voted for it shows that their discussions were about the right of the people to maintain state militias…
“At the same time, many Congressmen owned guns, as did many other Americans, and assumed they had a right to do so…
“But they weren’t free to use them entirely as they might have liked.
“That’s the lesson of state and municipal regulations in existence when the amendment was written in 1789 and ratified by the states in 1791.” (The article then lists several examples of state and local governments of the time limiting the possession and use of guns.)
The article goes on to quote the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” he wrote.
Finally the article unexpectedly points to the Fifth Amendment as the true protector of the right to own a gun. It forbids the federal government from interfering with anyone’s “life, liberty or property without due process of law.” Guns were property.
The article ends with the observation that “clearly, the right to bear arms goes back to the earliest days of the United States. But so, too, does the power of legislatures to regulate it in the name of public safety.”
As I alluded to at the beginning, I realize how entrenched the extremes on both sides are, but I believe this is a worthy analysis of the issue.