Letter: 2nd Amendment not absolute
What is at issue over the mass shootings in America is the need to regulate firearms. The political right in this the most violent of leading countries has charged their agents, their politicians and judges, to prevent virtually any regulation, and even scientific investigations into gun violence. This is contrary to the text of the Justice Scalia majority opinion on the Heller case.
“There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment’s right of free speech was not.
“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
“We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.”
The debate is not over Humvees or rifles being “assault” or being “automatic.” The senseless slaughter that goes on is unacceptable. A Congress that does nothing is unacceptable. The possibility that I may personally die of stray bullets while at a grocery store, at a school classroom, at a nightclub, at a church or at a public meeting is unacceptable. That is a violation of my rights as an American. Yet Americans die this way again and again.
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Our nation suffers from this public malady because gun manufacturers make enormous profits from the sale of firearms. Sales of military-style rifles increase after mass shootings. American politicians that support these gun manufacturers receive donations to their campaigns. And just as important, politicians that attempt to impose “conditions and qualifications” are attacked. Two Colorado state senators lost their jobs in recall elections in 2013 for helping to pass laws. “The new laws provided for a ban on magazines holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition, a universal background check and a requirement that buyers pay a fee for the background check.” (Wikipedia) These laws came in the wake of Sandy Hook and the Aurora theater shooting. The NRA supported the recall with donations.
This problem has to be fixed. Firearms must be regulated, as the Supreme Court has ruled.
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