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Time to rethink Second Amendment

Published: December 28, 2012
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In response to Steven E. Morris (Your Views, Dec. 19): The Second Amendment is indeed archaic for at least two reasons. First, the amendment is specifically conditioned on “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” Now that we have the strongest and most effective military on earth, it's not necessary for private citizens to bear arms for this particular purpose. Second, 200 years ago it was obvious what bearing arms consisted of. Now, it's not obvious. Few would deny the appropriateness of possessing a gun, baseball bat, slingshot, etc. to defend one's self and property from those “bent on violence.” However, few would also deny that no good can come of civilians possessing nuclear arms. Therefore, The question is where to draw the line, not whether any lines should be drawn to limit civilian arsenals.

Such a nuanced debate requires a more nuanced policy than a simple one-liner written 221 years ago. The Framers never intended civilian arsenals as a self-evident human right, but rather as a practical necessity with more limited consequences than we now face. While mental illness may be the more immediate cause of this tragedy, a rethinking of deeply held views on gun rights is also appropriate.

Aaron Johnson, Norman