The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut ignited and fueled the debates on how best to reduce gun violence in America. These debates have compelled people to re-examine the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and attempt to define what the "arms" should be in our right to bear arms.
Many action groups and elected officials continue to rally support for a new ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles and high capacity ammunition magazines, saying that they have no place on our streets. While I agree that the average citizen currently does not have the need to walk down Main Street with a semi-automatic rifle in hand, I do believe having one safely secured in your home is exactly what the Second Amendment guarantees and encourages.
It includes the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." You can read the Federalist Papers written by some of the same contributing legislators to our Constitution like Alexander Hamilton and President James Madison to attempt to gain insight into the meaning and reasoning of these ratified documents, but the Federalist Papers were not voted upon and in the end are only opinions.
For a more comprehensive view into the thoughts of the hundreds of legislators responsible for ratifying our Constitution, and more specifically our Bill of Rights, read the transcripts from the ratification debates that took place in each state. Regarding the disposition of arms, our founding fathers were much more concerned with the proposed federal government becoming too powerful because of the vast amount of arms the government could control. The right of individuals to own and use deadly arms was never disputed.
To read the rest of this letter to the editor subscribe to Decorah Newspapers at 563-382-4221 for just 34 cents an issue. Or purchase one at any of the many convenient locations in Decorah and throughout Winneshiek County.