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Interpret 2nd amendment correctly to stop the madness

Please consider the following contribution as a guest column since it exceeds the 200 word limit for letters to the editor.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

I believe that constitutional pundits have all botched their interpretation of this text. Anyone can see that the purpose of the last 14 words is to be responsive to the first 13. The right to bear arms is authorized IN ORDER TO provide for the budding nation's defense through a well-regulated militia. The nation, in the late 1700s, had no constabulary or standing army. The framers were silent on hunting, target shooting and even home defense but they spoke loudly and clearly about the nation's defense in the days before the United States even had a standing army.

Why do so many people fail to grasp the context of all 27 words? And what to do about it? I, for one, am tired of hearing that another teenager with a semi-automatic weapon massacred another 20 children, along with their teachers. We are insane to allow this to continue.

I maintain that we should interpret the Second Amendment to allow semi-automatic weapons ONLY in the hands of sworn law enforcement officers, members of active duty and reserve members of the military and National Guard, and no one else. There is precedent. For decades, fully automatic weapons have been prohibited in the hands of anyone other than law enforcement and military personnel.

Want to hunt? Pass a Hunter Safety course and use a weapon with a limited ammunition capacity (3-5 rounds?).

Want to protect yourself and your family in your home? After receiving the requisite permit, purchase a revolver with limited capacity (6 rounds?). Be honest; if someone breaks into your home at 3 a.m. bent on mayhem, you fire one round and they run for dear life. A revolver is plenty of armament in such circumstances. If you need more firepower, they will probably prevail so don't worry about it. It wasn't meant to be.

Before gun enthusiasts exclaim their differing views about weaponry and ammunition capacity, let's not deflect from the real issue. Let the details be figured out by the experts but let's stop allowing people with murderous impulses to fire 15-30 rounds from military grade firearms at little kids, then replace the magazine and do it all over again.

Stop the madness. Save kids' lives. That should be the priority.

Eric Smith is a resident of Noank


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