Vail Daily letter: Right to firearms
Ryan Summerlin November 14, 2012
The latest from Jack Van Ens is a column promoting gun control. He has some concepts wrong.
He says that the Second Amendment allows local militias to bear arms. That’s not what my copy of the Constitution says. It speaks of how well regulated militias are necessary for the security of a free state, but it concludes: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Elsewhere in the Constitution there are references to “the people,” meaning individuals. As in the Fourth Amendment’s provision about the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. And in the 10 Amendment, it speaks of rights reserved “to the states, respectively, or to the people.”
So what is the militia? Federal law defines it as all able bodied males between the ages of 17 and 45. See Title 10 US Code Section 311. Colorado’s constitution has a similar definition in Article XVII, Section 1.
In any case, Colorado’s constitution clearly acknowledges an individual right in Title II, Section 13: “The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”
Van Ens scoffs at the idea that people need arms for protection of their freedoms any more: “Today, the rest of us don’t need to act like proverbial cowboys because the shoot-em-up frontier was closed by the 1890s.”
Tell that to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York who are beset by looters. Tell that to residents of urban areas like Chicago, plagued by gang bangers and flash mobs. There’s never a cop around when you need one.
The classified section of the Vail Daily regularly runs ads for firearms training to qualify for concealed weapon permits. Business appears to be good. Are all those people delusional?