Second Amendment to defeat tyrany
To the Editor:
Since the 2004 expiration of the previous semi-automatic ban, gun ownership has increased significantly and is now at its highest rate in almost 20 years, while gun violence has dropped just as significantly with gun murders down 75 percent since 1980. This supports the controversial but empirically supported idea that legal gun ownership may reduce gun crime.
There seems to be an unwillingness of many to address the real purpose of the Second Amendment. Gun ban supporters often ask, "Why do you need an extended magazine to hunt deer?" and this may sound like a reasonable question, especially to those who consider hunting and self-defense the only legitimate use of firearms. But the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It's not even clear from the legislative history that it has anything to do with self-protection. The purpose of the Second Amendment has always been to secure for the People the means to struggle against tyranny. It flowed directly from the English experience in which local militias were used by the King to enforce undemocratic and oppressive rule. This seems like an extreme concept for some Americans, but this is our history. And history is replete with examples of the oppression of people who couldn't defend themselves. Tyranny does not characterize our government now, and hopefully it never will. The Second Amendment is in place to guarantee our people that they have the means to struggle for their liberty again, if, God forbid, we ever need to.
Printed in the January 31, 2013 edition