I write in response to a letter from Mr. Horton in the May 13 edition of your paper entitled “Misreading of Second Amendment is fatal mistake.”
Putting aside all rhetoric, tribal politics and talking past one another as I see day to day in this country, each of us in turn has to answer two questions as we lie our heads on the pillow and rise in the morning. Do you want the self reliance to protect yourself, your family and your nation at a moment’s notice? Or would you rather be at the mercy of strangers for the minimum four minutes it takes the police to arrive?
The premise of “The Second Amendment, not crazies, is killing us” is wrong. The amendment is a pre-existing individual right to keep and bear weapons in the defense of oneself, others their property and this nation. In terms of the mass shootings mentioned in the original letter and what’s killing people, mal-intended criminals are the root cause.
After I had read through the Wikipedia article cited in a letter on mass shootings, I noticed that only two of the myriad sources wikipedia uses exclude drug or gang-related shootings which account for the vast majority of these crimes, examples of which are on the same article.
There’s also the fact that the lion’s share of the cited murders occur in Washington D.C., New York, California and Illinois. These states all have the strictest gun control laws in the nation and yet they have the most gun related killings per capita in the nation. Another through line I found in this article is that 100% of these crimes were stopped by a gun. Either by a police officer, an armed citizen or the perpetrator themself.
To continue along the armed citizen aspect, the FBI and Crime Prevention Research Center estimated that at least 34% up to 49% of mass shootings are stopped or even prevented by armed citizens. This would not be possible without the Second Amendment. As for total crime prevention, the CDC has put together multiple data points including the yearly FBI crime data tables and country-wide local police crime statistics since the 1990s to 2021. The CDC found that armed citizens account for an estimated 60,000 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses against crimes being actively committed each year. This includes crime encounters where no one was even harmed. The mention or drawing of a gun made the criminals flee.
In regard to your breakdown of the Second Amendment, why would the Founding Fathers, after fighting a revolution, give the government the sole right to firearms and strip them from the people? I ask because this is what you propose. That the only people in this country that have the right to keep and bear arms is the military. Seems rather illogical if that were the case.
Furthermore, the Seond Amendment, and its associated bills were based upon the Assize of Arms 1181 and 1252, the Statute of Winchester 1285 and the Archery Laws of Britain. All are dry reads but are fascinating pieces of historical law. In summary I quote the Assize of Arms of 1181: “Moreover, every free layman who possesses chattels or rents to the value of 16m. shall have a shirt of mail, a helmet, a shield, and a lance; and every free layman possessing chattels or rents to the value of 10 marks shall have a hauberk, an iron cap, and a lance.”
Only six months after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, Congress passed the First and Second Militia Acts. The first states “that every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder.”