The true meaning of our U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment has been misinterpreted by the general public and by the Supreme Court in this last century. A July 29 letter to the editor, ” Guns keep us free from oppression ,” bears this out with the inaccurate claim that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms. This was not the intent of the writers of the Constitution in the later part of the 18th century. As James Madison, the principal author of the Constitution, makes clear in Federalist Paper 46 the purpose of this amendment is to allow a “well-regulated militia” to own guns. This was deemed necessary to protect the states from a federal standing army that the U.S. government may form and which may invoke its will on a particular state. There was fear from the Constitution’s authors of federal standing armies seen in Europe. Over the last 200 years our Supreme Court has ruled several times that the Second Amendment did not give the individual the right to own a gun. Recently the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise, but that doesn’t mean the current interpretation is correct. Gun violence — facilitated by a ridiculous looseness of laws for gun ownership — remains this nation’s greatest scourge.
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