Guns: for military purposes only

By From page A10 | February 03, 2013

Greg Stovall, in his Jan. 24 commentary, challenges us to show him “in the U.S. Constitution where owning an automobile is a right and protected.” That’s easy. The 14th Amendment provides that ownership of all kinds of property is protected, and that no state can deprive a citizen of that right without due process of law.

Which leads to the obvious question: Why did the drafters single out guns as the subject of the Second Amendment? Could it be because they wisely saw guns as particularly dangerous, having no purpose but to kill, and that therefore, unlike other types of property, guns ought to be allowed only in support of “a well-regulated militia?”

Stovall, like most other gun lovers and the National Rifle Association, conveniently chooses to ignore the “well-regulated militia” part of the Second Amendment in proclaiming that they have a constitutional right to own as many guns as they want. The founders clearly intended that arms be available for military use; it is not at all clear that they thought it would be a good idea for all citizens to have an unlimited amount of guns.

Conversely, the right to own property (other than guns, which are dealt with in the Second Amendment) is without limit, subject only to the due process requirement. The Constitution, most reasonably and literally read, singled out guns as a dangerous type of property that was to be kept solely for military use; other types of property, including automobiles, were not subject to such limitations.

Automobiles, and knives for that matter, are dangerous and need to be used with care. Nonetheless, these objects are intended for non-harmful uses. Guns, on the other hand, have no purpose other than to kill and maim. It makes sense that the founding fathers singled guns out as being allowed for military purposes only.

Raoul Renaud

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