Letter to the Editor

LETTER: Constitution provides gun rights, not Congress

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Constitution provides gun rights, not Congress

To the editor:

I read the article titled "Gun views fractious even as fewer bear arms" while wondering how people can know so little about our own constitution. The article states: "In 2008, the Supreme Court finally declared that Americans have the right to a gun for self-defense?" As if the Supreme Court has the authority to make laws or grant rights. It does not. Our constitution grants us our rights and only Congress can make laws.

The article then went on to say: "What they (gun rights advocates) did is a classic example of how you make constitutional change." Apparently whoever wrote this article failed their 8th-grade constitution exam, or worse yet, they graduated without having ever studied our founding documents.

Lest anyone be duped by this false information, I offer this simple history lesson as a refresher course. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. They were written by James Madison in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties. The Bill of Rights lists specific restrictions on governmental power, and they have been part of the Constitution since 1791. The Bill of rights includes this statement: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

In summary, the gun advocates did not "make constitutional change," nor did the Supreme Court give us the right to a gun for self-defense. These rights were granted to us by our forefathers 225 years ago. Forfeiting these fundamental rights in exchange for a false sense of security will not make America safer. The Orlando terrorist attack occurred in a gun free zone and was perpetrated by someone who had passed an FBI background check and broke no gun laws prior to this offense. So it is obvious that gun free zones, gun laws and background checks do not stop evil people who are determined to commit criminal acts.

If our government succeeds in curtailing our gun rights, then the only people who will have guns are the terrorists, drug cartels, gang bangers and other criminals because they simply don't follow the laws. What the Orlando gunman did was already illegal, but it didn't stop him did it? With a national average of only 40 police officers for every 10,000 people it's wise to remember this simple fact: Whenever seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Sally Sidman, Brazil