Mitigating the slaughter is overdue
April 22, 2021
To The Eagle:
Wahkiakum County Commissioners have adopted a resolution opposing infringement of rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment. I wonder how well they understand the boundaries of that “guarantee.”
Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens stated that for 200 years following the adoption of the Second Amendment, federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by that text was limited in two ways.
First, it limited the power of the federal government, but did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms.
Second, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes. The right to possess a firearm outside of the military for personal and home protection was not codified by the courts until the 1980 Supreme Court’s “Heller vs. D.C.” decision.
Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who authored that decision, admonished that “like most rights, the 2nd Amendment right is not unlimited. History demonstrates that it is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever, for whatever purpose.”
The courts have come to interpret the 2nd Amendment as undoubtedly protecting a fundamental Constitutional right while leaving room for a potentially wide range of regulation. Courts must find ways to accommodate both the individual right as well as the compelling interests of public safety.
The National Rifle Association disagrees, and continues a deceitful campaign claiming that any regulation of firearms severely curtails Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger characterized the NRA’s position as outright fraud.
The omnipresence of guns in private hands has precipitated incidents of mass murder by gunfire now reported almost daily in this nation. The passage of legislation to mitigate this slaughter is overdue, and essential.