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.


  • Anonymous

    As a moderate and supporter of the Constitution, I am a strong supporter of 2d Amendment rights. Indeed, these were intended to protect people from crimes and from government repression. Rights which we cannot afford to forfeit.

    Such rights are every bit as essential in modern society as they were in post Colonial times. I can think of the perfect scenario that would justify the right to keep and bear weapons: recall a few years ago when criminally racist white cop Mark Fuhrmann was caught on tape admitting to harassing and terrorizing Blacks and Latinos on the streets of Los Angeles. This despite all his previous sworn testimony that he never hurt anyone or abused his authority. The courts always took his side and he never paid for his crimes against those decent citizens. Instead, the City of Los Angeles had to pay over $ 25 million for his abuses and those of other evil cops.

    The ideal way to stop all that is for citizens to have guns and rifles on them at all times. When a racist white cop tries to harass them, BOOM!! There goes a bullet right into their heads.

    Since you love 2d Amendment rights, you should be applauding this statement right now. Ain't that right??

    Take guns and make it open season on rogue cops. That will restore peace to the streets of Los Angeles and all other cities where cops harass and terrorize innocents. If Madison, Jefferson, and Washington were around today, they would be the first ones to endorse this truth.

    Let's hear from all other 2d Amendment rights advocates. Let us see you give this statement a ringing endorsement. After all, it is the consistent application of your principles that give them validity.


  • Anonymous

    If cops are gunning down innocent citizens, I and most people would fully support the right of a citizen to shoot back and shoot to kill.

    However, I don't think that anyone could argue that getting racially profiled with a speeding ticket is warrant to shoot. We do have civil courts for a reason.

    - Julian Rajeshwar