“ … [T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
There is no language in the Second Amendment that says “except for sensible gun control laws,” which the Feb. 20 editorial (“Out of the mouths and hearts of youths”) called for.
It is important to note that the language in the Second Amendment is among the very strongest across the entire Constitution. It means what it says.
According to a notebook compiled by Thomas Jefferson: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
This has been empirically confirmed, as we know that the average deaths in a mass shooting incident without a good person with a gun present are approximately 13. The average deaths in such an incident where a good person with a gun is present are approximately two. This points to the answer — in Florida, Connecticut and even here in Minnesota. Armed staff will prevent bloodbaths. Rural California knew this when it permitted teachers to defend their classrooms, until the Democratic legislature removed that local control and prohibited good defense. Our kids should never be sitting ducks.
In a study that came out of former President Barack Obama’s own government, it was noted that guns may prevent anywhere from hundreds of thousands to several million crimes every year. Going after law-abiding gun owners (who are determined by others to never “need” any of the weapons we have) will remove those protections and cause the rest of the country to resemble parts of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and other Democratic strongholds.
And to the point often argued that guns should only be held by a “militia”? Let’s consult another liberal darling, Alexander Hamilton (except, wait, he was actually quite conservative …), who wrote in Federalist No. 29 that if the government were to “form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if it all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens.”
The militia is you and me (“the people”), standing ready to defend our mutual rights. If you want to remove those rights, knowing that these rights “shall not be infringed,” you have one constitutional path available to you — changing the Second Amendment.
Until then, arm our citizens (especially in “gun-free” aka “kill us here” zones), defend our rights, deal with mental illness before it reaches the gun shop and enforce our laws. That is the “sensible” path.
Chris R. Powell lives in Minneapolis.