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Letter: Don’t water down Constitutional rights

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 10:05 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Some argue that firearm technology has developed far beyond what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they ratified the Second Amendment. I would argue that the same is true of the First Amendment. 

I can’t imagine James Madison envisioned blood-soaked movies gratuitously shown as entertainment, or the prevalence of pornography pandered as art when he stroked the First Amendment with his quill.  

Indeed, a 30-round rifle clip is far closer to the spirit of the Second Amendment than a sexually violent video game is to the spirit of the First.

As revealed by the innumerable quotes from the era surrounding the creation of our Bill of Rights, the spirit of the Second Amendment lay in the Founders’ conviction that an armed populous is essential for the preservation of our freedom. 

George Washington warned, “A free people ought … to be armed.”  Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they [the government] try to take it.” 

These quotes are not pulled out of context – they are the context.  (Hunting was never mentioned.)

Just as you would not dilute the First Amendment, do not dilute the Second. It matters not what gun violence exists or the tenor of popular opinion, our Constitution with its Bill of Rights is inviolate. 

If you feel the Second Amendment should be modified or repealed (I do not), then do so legitimately via further amendments. By definition, trying to do so by passing restrictive laws, through judicial decisions or by drafting executive orders is unconstitutional.

Noted Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a liberal, supporter of Barack Obama, and no friend of the Second Amendment, agrees:  “Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution … don’t see the danger in the big picture. They’re courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don’t like.” 

He is for an amendment that expunges the Second Amendment, but against the means now being put forth. 

If present sentiment drives our nation to circumvent one right, then all of our rights are in jeopardy. If we ignore the protections, so wisely included by our founders against easy manipulation of the meaning of the text, it won’t be long before we destroy the effectiveness of our Constitution altogether.

Bill Godfrey

Board member, DeKalb County Tea Party


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