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    Tuesday, June 18, 2024

    Gun rights for militia, not private gun owners

    The Day article, “Murphy exceeds Trump with demagoguery on guns,” (May 29) by columnist Chris Powell, puts forward the frightening proposition that “the gun issue should be left to the people whose rights are most affected, gun owners.”

    His implication is that individual gun owners have special second amendment rights derived from gun ownership; they do not. The amendment does not now, nor ever did, extend gun rights to individual persons. Specifically, according to constitutional scholar Paul Finkelman, it exclusively references only militias. By all accounts, a militia specifies a group of people, not individuals. The indisputable provision of the amendment is that constitutional protection against infringement is to be provided to militias, not persons. A militiaman in the performance of his militia duties is to be so protected.

    For more discussion, see articles by Robert Spitzer, “Lost and Found: Researching the Second Amendment” and Chuck Dougherty, “... Will the Real Militia Please Stand Up,” arguing gun rights exist until a militia member steps outside of his role.

    Carl T. Bogus characterizes the Second Amendment as an example of “settled constitutional law,” since the U.S. Supreme Court decided in three cases prior to 1939, that the amendment only granted the right to bear arms to militia. See “The History and Politics of Second Amendment Scholarship: A Primer” for extended source material.

    Jim Nestor


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