Letter: Shall not be infringed

Posted 8/5/22

To the editor:

April 18, 1775, fearful of growing discontent in the colonies, the British began their march towards Lexington and Concord. Their goal: neutralize the rebel movement by seizing and …

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Letter: Shall not be infringed

Posted

To the editor:

April 18, 1775, fearful of growing discontent in the colonies, the British began their march towards Lexington and Concord. Their goal: neutralize the rebel movement by seizing and destroying their arms. They failed, and eight bloody years of war ensued. 

Ultimately, the Americans won, and the Founders set out to establish a new form of government. 

Given their experiences, they clearly understood the value of an armed populace and remained fearful of the possibility of a future tyrannical government. Such knowledge was the key motivating factor behind the 2nd amendment. In December 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified and the right to bear arms was codified. 

The second amendment states: “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.” The “Militia” consisted of any able-bodied man who was able to bear arms. This distinction is key; the power was to reside with “The People,” who, with their arms, could form the Militia. In other words, YOU are the Militia. Furthermore, such a militia would only be as effective as the weapons that they possessed. As a result, the amendment protects one’s right to own weapons used in a militia and that are in “common use.” 

The 2nd amendment must be protected; however, we live in a society with an unacceptable level of gun violence. Given this situation, we must be judicious as we try to develop a solution.  

Before any problem can be solved, it needs to be identified. Once identified, a targeted solution should be applied. When 11,000 die each year from drunk driving, we do not ban cars for everybody; instead, we rightfully target those breaking the law. Regarding firearms, we should apply a similar philosophy. Over 50 percent of our nation’s homicides currently occur in just 2 percent of U.S. counties. In any given year, more than half of U.S. counties have ZERO homicides, despite the presence of tens of millions of firearms, including “assault rifles” with “high capacity” magazines. How is this possible? After all, guns cause crime, right? So how can there be so many guns with no homicides? And why is this information ignored when it comes to forming gun policy? 

Furthermore, how are we to believe politicians and activists who proclaim they want to “save lives” but then promote policies that will do no such thing? In some of the most violent counties, district attorneys let violent felons back onto the streets, the police are defunded, and attempts are made to prevent law-abiding citizens from owning firearms. How dangerously foolish can people be?  

It is time to stop. If we are serious about solving this problem, we must acknowledge - criminals do not follow laws, so passing laws banning this or that will only infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens. Many who promote such measures know this, which then raises questions about the true motivation behind much of the gun control movement. Is it to “save lives” or disarm the People? I’m not making a claim, just asking a question.  

Regardless, if we genuinely want to improve our nation, we must have the courage to address the problem at its foundation. As such, we should focus on the following: First, the breakdown of the family. Second, the alarming increase in mental illness. And lastly, the overall moral and cultural decay and division in society. Perhaps if we put our attention toward such things, then we might make some progress and start the process of saving lives.   

Matthew Fletcher

Barrington

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.