To the Editor:
Every time Xan White writes about “constraining” the Second Amendment in his latest opinion piece “Guns, well-regulated, are the right of the People” (12/3), his readers must carefully keep in mind that he actually is supporting banning firearms altogether. This is what the DC v. Heller case is about and this is the proposition that he is supporting.
His opening claim about “people” being more than simply the plural form of “person” is patently absurd, especially given that every other part of the Bill of Rights defends an individual right. He also fails to mention that “well-regulated” historically meant “functioning,” as the militias during the time period often were not subject to any real governmental regulation at all. Furthermore, White claims that the Supreme Court has refused to incorporate the Second Amendment when in fact the Supreme Court has never had a case that has given them opportunity to do so.
Of course, White argues then for stringent gun regulation as a pragmatic matter of safety by claiming some prescient statistical knowledge that has allowed him to evaluate the necessary utilitarian calculus. However, economist John Lott, who was once a senior research scholar at Yale Law, carried out an extensive study of the FBI’s crime database suggesting that concealed-carry laws deter violent crime and gun bans embolden criminals. If White were to cite but one such study, his claims might take on the appearance of reasonable argumentation.
Finally, White claims that the debate is best left to our “elected bodies” rather than to our “unelected courts.” Of course, since the court system exists in part so that citizens may challenge unconstitutional laws, White’s advocacy is unclear. We would all do well to remember that the Bill of Rights was constructed specifically to prevent the encroachment of any laws passed by an overzealous legislature.
Rajeshwar is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.