Gun rights are not absolute | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

The Second Amendment begins with four words that are ignored by all who want to discuss this issue, they are: “A well regulated militia…”

This opening phrase is the key to the purpose of the amendment. In order for the people to bear arms they must be a part of a well regulated militia of the state. The amendment further states that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed.”

If the amendment is considered to be the right of every citizen, without regulation or restriction, then any regulation, such as age, mental stability, criminal record, type of gun, etc. is an infringement. However, if the amendment is tied to the militia necessary “to the security of a free state,” then any restriction that pertains to a well regulated militia is legal and not an infringement and not in conflict with the right to bear arms.

Per the amendment, all firearms regardless of size, or firepower, can be registered and regulated by the state, be it the individual states, or the federal state. As a part of being well regulated, rules for registration, training, use, storage, etc. can be established, promulgated and administered. This would eliminate the uncontrolled distribution and availability of guns to the general public.

As part of a well regulated militia, all military-style weapons and ammunition would be kept in the local armory and issued to those trained in its use and care. Other weapons such as handguns and hunting rifles would be registered to licensed owners. Licensing would require background checks, training and the proof of proper storage facilities. The latter would be stipulated by the governing body (state or federal). Violation of these regulations would punishable by heavy financial fines and/or prison.

All of this can be done without infringing the right granted by the Second Amendment, and in compliance with the purpose of the amendment.

JOHN C. WADE

Bainbridge Island

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