In response to Jon de Vos’ opinion piece, “Embrace the Second Amendment.”
To the Editor:
First of all, Mr. de Vos stated in the article that the Constitution does not side with those who focus solely on the last 14 words in the Second Amendment. In the landmark Supreme Court Case Heller vs. District of Columbia, the court concluded that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms, unconnected from the militia. This is because the first clause is prefatory and announces a purpose, but does not expand or limit the scope of the second clause, which is the operative clause declaring the individually held right to keep and bear arms. The court states in the Heller decision, “Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion.” Given that, it seems most legal authority would disagree with Mr. DeVos’ opinion on the clauses in the Second Amendment.
Mr. de Vos also stated 30 round clips and military assault rifles “have no place among armed citizenry.” Firstly, a semi-automatic rifle with a 30 round magazine (which I assume you are referring to in this statement given your reference to citizenry) is not an assault rifle by definition, which is defined as a fully automatic rifle. A fully automatic (assault) rifle is almost impossible to obtain by a civilian. Secondly, the Supreme Court case Unites States v. Miller held that weapons “in common use” are protected by the Second Amendment. Today, that includes semi-automatic rifles with 30 round magazines. We see this same protection extending to the First Amendment in regards to free speech on the internet. So, once again, legal authority on the matter would disagree with Mr. DeVos.
I could find no reputable source that agreed with the numbers regarding gun deaths this year quoted in the article, but a study conducted by Columbia University with regards to gun deaths reported between 2000 and 2010 showed many states with the very restrictive gun laws, like Massachusetts and Washington DC, saw an increase in violent crime rates over that period which disagrees with the statement guns equate to less safety.
I wish I had more space to refute more of the opinions in the article, but it still seems Mr. de Vos is embracing a very wrong side of the Second Amendment.
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