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Letters to the Editor

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The high court's gun-rights decision didn't invent a right

Regarding your July 1 editorial, "High court aims low on gun right": Putting aside the consciously skewed description of the Second Amendment as a "newly minted right," the Monitor calls on lawmakers to do something truly obnoxious: to ignore the plain thrust of the law and rush to pass ordinances in direct contravention to it.

The Monitor's solution to the problem of an ideologically inconvenient landmark decision is not unlike that of hard-line conservatives who, in the wake of the court's decision against capital punishment in child rape cases, immediately called for new legislation that would violate the spirit (if not the letter) of that ruling, too.

Yes, I get it. The Monitor doesn't like gun rights and wants to "raise the bar" on who can and can't own a gun. But the approach the newspaper advocates is so astonishingly unprincipled and lowbrow in its "by any means necessary" desperation, I do wonder whether the editorial board has forgotten that in our democracy of laws, it is the province of our judicial system to say what the law is.

Regarding your recent editorial on the Supreme Court's decision on District of Columbia v. Heller: First, the court did not create a right to gun ownership. Rather, it acknowledged that the Constitution means what it says when it refers to the "right of the people to keep and bear arms."

This right actually predates the Constitution and is one of those unalienable rights that individuals have – to protect and defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones. The right to defend one's life is not given by government and cannot be taken away by government.

Second, the decision did not defy "two centuries of laws" and it overruled no prior Supreme Court case. In fact, until relatively recently in our nation's history, it was assumed by all three branches of government that people had a right to own firearms, albeit with restrictions on ex-felons or insane people not being able to legally own them, and certain types of firearms such as machine guns being unlawful to purchase.


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