Constitutional right to bear arms applies to individuals

To the Editor:

Xan White’s column (“Death is human cost of misreading 2nd Amendment” 11/29) in opposition to the current interpretation of the Second Amendment claims that the founding founders considered it a communal right, not an individual one. White’s argument is historically false.

Founding father Samuel Adams proclaimed that “the Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” More importantly, George Mason, who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights (upon which the Bill of Rights is based), defined the “militia” for us: “I ask you sir, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people.”

Thomas Jefferson pointed out the obvious when he commented that “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.” Furthermore, as James Madison pointed out, the advantage of an armed society is that the people maintain control: “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of other countries, whose leaders are afraid to trust them with arms.”

It consistently amazes me that liberals are willing to sacrifice the one right that is the most important in the maintenance of liberty. It was, of course, another founding father — Ben Franklin — who famously said that sacrificing liberty for security was indefensible.

Perhaps the best description of White’s knee-jerk reaction, in direct contradiction of the founding father’s wishes, is Sigmund Freud’s. He famously opined: “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.”

Julian Rajeshwar

Nov. 29

Rajeshwar is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.

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