Columnist was wrong on guns

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

To the editor:

Reference is made to a column by Ross Reitz in the Sept. 1, 2019, edition of the Suffolk News-Herald entitled “Interpreting the Second Amendment?”

Now a brief identification of myself. I am a 77-year-old husband, father, grandfather and a Christian. I vote, pay my taxes (and debts) and have never committed a felony. I’ve lived in Suffolk since 1996 and in Virginia since 1978. My family has been in this country since the mid-1600s.

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As a point of reference, let me state the Second Amendment as written by the Founders: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

In the third paragraph of Mr. Reitz’s column, he opines the Second Amendment allows gun ownership. Not so! Instead, it guarantees that pre-existing right shall not be violated. The Minutemen, exercising their right of gun ownership, made the return to Boston very difficult for the British. In fact, many didn’t make it back at all.

Considerable reading of authors whose expertise came from living in the times approximate to those of the Founders and/or from extensive research convinces me and many others of one central fact. The Founders feared most a large, powerful central government and a standing army to back it up. In their view, the above represented fertile breeding ground for tyranny. Their wording was aimed at securing freedom within the state, not from Britain or any other foreign power, but rather from those who would imperil the truly free state they envisioned.

The assertion is made by Mr. Reitz that the Second Amendment’s stated purpose is to provide for the national defense — not individual use. Again, not so on both counts. The many who fought, suffered and died under the leadership of Gens. Washington, Green, LaFayette, Lee, etc. provided a national defense before the Founders’ composition of the matter at hand. Their choice of the phrase “the right of the people” implies the citizenry and the individuals comprising it, not members of the military branches. Nor can those same branches of the military be considered “militia.” In the Founder’s day the term “militia” generally referred to a loosely organized band of citizens who for the most part owned their own weapons. In today’s world, I know of but one “militia.”

Finally, Mr. Reitz, interpretation of the Second Amendment and the Constitution in its entirety is left to the Supreme Court, not you and me. So far at least, I am generally pleased with their decisions. But alas, Mr. Reitz, there is yet hope for those of your apparent political persuasion! When the Second Amendment is lawfully repealed and when you and yours can provide clear evidence that all the “bad guys” have relinquished their weapons, I will consider giving up some (not all) of mine. A few at least must be retained to defend against the enemies of “the security of the free state” and to protect family, friends, self and property should the need arise.

Douglas M. Allen