A July 19 letter argued that the Second Amendment was designed to allow citizens to protect themselves from their own government. In support of this, the writer provided alleged quotations from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson saying just that.
Both quotations are spurious, as verified by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the most reliable sources on the two Founder’s authorship.
For most of our history, robust gun regulation was the norm. Indeed, in 1881 the town of Tombstone, Ariz., prohibited the carrying of firearms within the town. Anyone coming to town with a firearm had to turn it in and could only retrieve it when he left town.
The famous shootout at the OK Corral occurred when Marshall Wyatt Earp tried to enforce that ordinance.
In the past decade, the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from banning handguns in a citizen’s home, but in the same cases it recognized that gun rights were subject to reasonable regulations.
The Supreme Court has not decided whether the right extends beyond keeping weapons in the home. The court has routinely turned away challenges to state regulations. Most recently, the Supreme Court has refused to invalidate Connecticut and New York bans on high-capacity magazines and semiautomatic rifles that resemble military weapons.
Reasonable state regulation of firearms is legal and proper. All that stands in the way is a lack of courage on the part of our legislators to stand up to the radical elements in the NRA. The majority of NRA members are in favor of reasonable gun regulations. That was the official position of the NRA from 1871 until 1977.
However, a group of radicals took over the leadership of the NRA and they, plus the group’s radical members, have vigorously lobbied against all regulations and worked hard to defeat legislators who favored reasonable regulations.
Citizens who support reasonable regulation should counter this and vote against legislators who do not have the courage to stand up to the NRA, replacing them with legislators who will reasonably protect the public.
John H. Douglas
Whispering Marsh Drive