Letter: Randy Ihara, South Riding

Editor: The General Assembly has finally taken a small step forward to address the problem of gun violence. Despite the well-attended rally a few months ago on the capitol grounds by those opposing even minimal, commonsense gun legislation, the legislators are to be commended and we should consider rewarding them at the next election for their principled stand. Their opponents surely will as well.

Second Amendment absolutists cite the Second Amendment as the basis for their implacable opposition to public action to impose restraints on the deadly proliferation of guns, particularly handguns. They base their opposition on three principal arguments: A limited and mistaken reading of the Second Amendment. They argue that even modest regulation will cost lives, as alleged by the slogan, “Guns Save Lives,” although no reliable evidence is offered to support that contention. Finally, they argue that even limited gun regulation would not prevent any of the shocking mass shootings that have devastated families all over the country. In other words, unless control regulations can prevent all mass shootings, they’re useless, “feel good” measures that will paradoxically cost more lives, as citizens are deprived of their individual means of defense, while also being deprived of their fundamental Constitutional rights. 

First, this argument is an all or nothing version of letting the “perfect be the enemy of the good.” If regulation of guns doesn’t bring shootings to a complete halt, we should do nothing. 

Secondly, gun rights advocates should actually read the Second Amendment. It’s only three lines in length, and opens by referring to a “well-regulated Militia” as “necessary to the security of a free state …” In other words, it is a right of “the people,” understood as a corporate body, not an individual. 

The preamble of the amendment clearly suggests that the purpose of the right to “bear arms” is to ensure the security of the community as a “free state.” This is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the militia is “well-regulated,” e.g., in control of local militia members and their use, storage, and maintenance of weapons. Moreover, those bearing arms are members of a “well-regulated militia” are in support of an over-riding public policy interest, namely, the “security of a free state.” This is not framed as the sole responsibility of individual militia members, but the common purpose of a “well-regulated” militia. 

Nowhere is individual security or home protection mentioned. Indeed, during the colonial period, a significant portion of the population consisted of young, indentured servants, and most adults didn’t have the financial means to own a gun, and most guns were publicly owned, housed in local arsenals to be dispensed for community militia drills or during security emergencies when deemed necessary by community leaders.

The issue of gun control is very divisive, and perhaps in need of a panel drawn from interested members of the community and organizations representing various viewpoints, and moderated by a respected member of the local community.

Randy Ihara, South Riding

3 thoughts on “Letter: Randy Ihara, South Riding

  • 2020-03-16 at 7:31 am

    To Randy Ihara, you should read the last 236 years of U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the 2nd Amendment. What anyone thinks the Founders intentions were when they wrote the 2nd Amendment are nearly moot… What is of significance is the Heller Decision.

    So, until the US Supreme Court reverses Heller, it really doesn’t matter as Heller now rules the 2nd Amendment.

  • 2020-03-18 at 8:47 pm

    Courts have ruled repeated that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right of all citizens. Furthermore, the US Code defines several militias and one of those groups is every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age, not a member of the National Guard or Naval Militia.

    You really should take some time to research things before put pen to paper.

  • 2020-03-20 at 7:19 pm

    What gun problem? 2018 Virginia: 8,500,000 People; 68,000 deaths;391 Murders; 284 Murders w/gun. Vast majority criminals on criminals in poor inner cities (run by Dems no wonder). Even common core math cant hide the fact that VA is one of the safest states. A gun was a prized possession used for defense as well as hunting ( no grocery stores for the sheeple). No gun, no eating, no gun, no defense against natives none to happy. The 2A guarantees by god given inalienable right that shall not be infringed (Along with other rights). And the “people” are just that, individuals. Guess common core English comprehension is an issue. How the “people” use their rights in not a factor, they are free to choose how best to exercise it. The 1A doesn’t say when and where one can speak freely. 5A doesn’t say when and where one can remain silent. There are plenty of existing laws on books, but criminals by nature don’t obey. going after law abiding citizens rights only smacks of communism. What are you gonna do when they come after the other rights? Only the 2A offers a physical real defense, they who would mean to infringe have to decide if its worth their life to continue, for the 2A is ably defended by patriots’ against all enemies, foreign and domestic (that means those within our country seeking to undermine it from within). And those criminals are now being let out of jail in the name of reform, only to go right back to their old ways (go ask NYC how that’s working).

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