To the Editor: Calls for sensible regulation of guns
Written by Jim Bailey   
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:20
Many who oppose sensible regulation of guns to protect public safety appear to understand only part of the Second Amendment and only part of the key Supreme Court cases that interpret the Second Amendment and, tragically, ignore the deadly reality of maintaining the status quo.    
Here are all of the words of the Second Amendment: 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 right of the people to keep and bear arms is important and is always stressed by those who oppose any regulation.  The well regulated part is also important and is never mentioned by those who oppose regulation.
In the last five years the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment means two things: They are 1.  that there is an individual right to own and bear arms;  and 2. that this right is not unlimited and may be regulated.
In District of Columbia v. Heller and in Mc Donald v. Chicago,  the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment establishes an individual right to own and possess arms for such purposes as self defense and hunting.  It ruled further that gun rights may be regulated by the government.
In the Heller case,  Justice Scalia wrote, " The Second Amendment right is not unlimited.  It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
He mentioned specific things that may be regulated under the Second Amendment. They are:  concealed weapons prohibitions;  prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill; forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings; imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms;   banning "dangerous and unusual weapons" and banning firearms that are most useful in  military service.
Opposing common sense regulations means that the existing reality will continue.
Maintaining the status quo means that, without any doubt,  news of another mass murder carried out with semiautomatic guns with high capacity ammunition magazines will be forthcoming  --  probably sooner rather than later. On behalf of the children of our country, I urge Congress  to not only respect our right to bear arms but also to enhance public safety by enacting sensible regulation of guns.
Jim Bailey
Quad County Coalition for Sensible Regulation of Guns

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