LETTER: Guns and the United States ConstitutionAfter each of these incidents we, as decent, caring, law abiding citizens all ponder how to prevent another mass murder. But time after time nothing gets done.
By: Richard A. Peterson, Wewela
To the Editor:
The 2012 holiday season has been marred by one of the worst possible tragedies: The killing of 20 children and six of their teachers by an apparently insane young gunman in Newtown, Conn. Other incidents in recent years: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Aurora, come to mind.
After each of these incidents we, as decent, caring, law abiding citizens all ponder how to prevent another mass murder. But time after time nothing gets done.
We are not only a nation of decent, caring people; we are a nation of people who value freedom above all else, hating restrictions of all kinds. For example: We love to drive fast, we routinely exceed the speed limit, we are all excellent drivers and will never have an accident — until! We are also a nation of mostly law-abiding citizens. We recognize the need for things like speed limits and stop signs.
The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution, states the personal rights of all citizens of the United States of America. The Second Amendment is used by gun rights advocates to legitimize the personal ownership of all types of long guns and handguns: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This amendment is not the problem; in fact, it can provide the answer on how to solve the problem of mass killings. Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court justice, has stated: “The Constitution is not a living document; it is dead, dead, dead, dead.”
He also says: “that interpreting laws requires adherence to the words used and their meanings at the time they were written.” Think about when the Second Amendment was adopted (1791): Muzzle loading muskets, single shots weapons were the personal firearms of the day. It would be impossible to commit the types of horrific mass killings we have seen in recent years with single shot firearms. Limiting personal firearms, pistols, rifles and shotguns, to single shots would not only limit mass killings of people, but would make hunters more truly sportsmen.