Letter: Things (and weapons) are different than they used to be

February 19, 2013 

From the perspective of the 18th century, the Second Amendment rationale was as follows:

Since we have no organized military force, it is essential that each householder maintain a flintlock of equivalent power to weapons carried by any invading force, so that we may organize citizen militias to resist any aggression. For this reason, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

But, a little more than 200 years later, we now do have a professional, permanent military, sustained and equipped for trillions of dollars. Ownership of military weapons is no longer an individual responsibility for defense against invasion.

There may be some basic right of free people to possess and bear arms, but the Second Amendment purpose of possessing military weaponry equivalent to that of any invading force is no longer a satisfactory reason. That particular "whereas" is nonsense in the current reality

I don't have any fundamental problem with the idea that free citizens have rights to possess and bear arms. These rights and the reasons for them need clear articulation, replacing the obsolete language of the Second Amendment, which does not speak to any of these rights, and which needs to go away.


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