Originally Published: April 26, 2013 9:58 p.m.
A number of recent letters to the editor have discussed both sides of the gun control issue. One writer states, "The Second Amendment contains two parts: the main clause that states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and the second part is a relative phrase which relates to and modifies the main clause, stating that the reason for not infringing on the right to keep and bear arms is due to the necessity of having a well-regulated militia and provide for a free state."
The Second Amendment reads, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
This writer seems to contend that the reason for not infringing on the right to keep and bear arms is to maintain a militia. However, the word "people" in the Second Amendment is not synonymous with "militia." The militia, then as now, consists of "people," but not all people are, or were then, in the militia.
Secondly, if our current "militia" is the National Guard/Re-serves, they do not exist to act as a deterrent to potential government authority and tyranny, as intended originally. The federal government has and is using this "militia" to enforce government policy, as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I don't believe the Founding Fathers had in mind a militia subject to the full control of the government to protect us from that same government's possible future abuse of authority.
I do believe that the founders believed in the necessity of an armed citizenry as a check to government abuse of authority.
The above-referenced letter then states, "The right to own a gun is not a God-given right. It is a right granted by the federal government."
The Declaration of Independence states, in part, "that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." With this, the writers articulated their belief that the rights of all mankind were granted by God at birth, and that government exists solely to protect these rights, and was not formed to "give" us anything.
Another letter posited that "we have no boundaries." Does the "no boundaries" delusion include laws in place that codify possession (whether on the person, in the home, in your car, loaded or unloaded) sales, background checks, unlawful gun or ammunition types, reporting requirements, felons in possession of firearms, firearms used in connection with a crime, and all the weapons laws from the federal government, state penal codes, vehicle codes, Fish & Game codes, and local laws?
This same author writes, "The people who should own assault guns and high-powered guns are the police, the military, the FBI and anyone connected with homeland security." That misses the meaning of the Second Amendment.
This writer also states, "I think that one of the most stupid statements is 'People kill, guns do not kill.'" But I have never personally seen a gun walk down the street under its own power, commit an armed robbery by itself, then run away. This society is so averse to putting responsibility on the individual that this concept of "blame the gun" is becoming detached from reality. Whether it is a gun, a car, or a hammer, it requires willful manipulation by a human being to be either a lawful tool or a destructive and lethal device, or completely inanimate and benign, based solely on the intent of the person. Or perhaps the "blame something else" mentality is a political pretext from people who just don't like something, like guns, and need to impose their beliefs on others through the force of law.
Consider these quotes: "The beauty of the Second Amendment that it will not be needed until they try to take it" (Thomas Jefferson), and "A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeois" (Vladimir Lenin).
Glenn Helm has lived in Prescott for 10 years, served 6 years in the U.S. Army - Military Police, and was with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and city police for 14 years. He is an avid reader of political, economic and military history.