LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reader questions true reason behind 2nd amendment
This is my first letter about guns. It is the result of listening to a gung-ho non-lawyer gun advocate who referenced the Second Amendment 22 times in a one hour debate about the current gun national debate over Parkland.
As is my usual reaction to such an emphasis on anything, I did some noodling and poking around the history of the Second Amendment, especially the 2008 U. S. Supreme Court ruling in D.C. v. Heller, which affirmed the right of individuals to own guns, written by Justice Antonio Scalia, who would have turned over in his grave if he had heard the interpretation of his very words even by a non-lawyer as “Mr. 22.”
The core of Scalia’s argument is that the Second does not confer “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever.” The government, Scalia said, could properly ban “dangerous and unusual weapons.” The role of fully automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns and bazookas is banned.
Assault rifles like one of my sons was trained with, the M-16 developed for use in Vietnam, and the civilian version of the M-16 is the AR-15 that fires high-speed, low-caliber rounds (in a 50-round magazine) that causes maximal damage within a human body, not to mention that it fires them very quickly, with little recoil. The AR-15 is designed to kill lots of people in just a few minutes. And it works exactly that way. How do I know? My son, and one of my neighbors who heads up our local police SWAT squad.
“What is our most basic right?”, I asked five different lawyers who are panel friends: “The first civil right of Americans is the right to be free of domestic violence was the composite answer I got. Without me asking, two of the five quickly said that as long as we have weapons such as the AR-15 that this right is “imperiled.”
Still trying to understand the other side, and I was born and raised in a Deep South gun culture where my father taught me to bird hunt at a very young age, I remembered that my father flew to Miami to see his first grandson that would carry the Paschal name. The night before he was to fly from Miami back to Atlanta, he asked to see my handgun. I showed it to him. He put it into his bag and took it home with him. He said, “Teach Keith to fish.” When he passed my brother wanted my gun as well as my father’s shotgun. I gave both to him. My Navy son, upon graduation from the Academy, turned in his M-16, and purchased the approved Lugar required of an officer. He still has it – locked up in his safe because he, too, has kids. We, of course, have had talks about guns.
Now, I’m at the skinny of my understanding the American gun culture, and their 100% opposition to even the ammo used. First, I’ve heard hundreds of various disingenuous arguments, such as the Dud who resorted 22 times to the Second but John Davidson provides the core answer of all gun-control opposition in “The Federalist.com” just a few days ago. That is, the Second has never meant to simply protect hunting and self-defense. Absolutely not! “The right to bear arms stems from the right of revolution.” Weapons designed for killing as in war must always be legal for civilians to purchase in order for Americans to “overthrow their government if it becomes tyrannical.”
Therein we have the gun culture’s case, which is not based in Scalia’s opinion in Heller. Therefore, Davidson is wrong. This is the basis for the intractable opposition to any form of gun control.
Does gun ownership stem from a right to “revolution”? Do we have a right to “revolution”? The answer to both questions is NO!
— B.J. Paschal, Fort Wayne