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The meaning of the 'right to bear arms' I wish to briefly address a point mentioned in your Sept. 10 editorial "The way to control guns." That the right to keep and bear arms is meant within the context of a "well regulated militia" is a common method of obscuring the fact that this right applies to individuals.

Gun control advocates argue that the "militia" clause means that the right applies not to individuals but to some amorphous state collective such as the National Guard. This is an incorrect interpretation, and a reading of the Second Amendment, its context within the Bill of Rights, the writings of the authors of the Constitution, and the vast majority of recent refereed legal scholarship (for example, see Van Alstyne, Duke Law Journal, 1994) all clearly indicate that the "well regulated militia" is predicated on the individual's right to keep and bear arms.

It is the militia that is to be regulated, not the right.

David Mechem, Norman, Okla.

I read your gun control editorial with some sadness and even some anger. As a law abiding citizen, a veteran, and gun owner, I am dismayed at the position taken by the Monitor supporting gun registration.

The great fear our forefathers had was that a federal government would eventually overstep its authority and assert its will on a defenseless people. There was heated debate on this until the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights as a guarantee that the people would not be defenseless. Only then would the individual colonies support the Constitution.

I don't know anyone who is not appalled by the recent examples of gun violence. But let's put this in proper perspective.

The numbers of victims from gun crimes pale compared to the numbers of victims of drunk drivers, violent parents, and swimming pools. Let's face the fact that gun control is not about safety, saving children, or even keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. It is about gaining control of the American people. Robert R. Majors, Ash Fork, Ariz.

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