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Calling an Anti-gunner on His Ignorance

by L. Neil Smith

Confused, Misinformed Citizen wrote:

I don't know that it's the craziest idea told by a self-described gun-nut, but it's easily the scariest. Vin Suprynowicz insists that the second amendment gives every law-abiding citizen the right to own firearms of 'military usefulness' (up to and including nuclear weapons, according to his website). What planet is this guy from, anyway? Do we really want people carrying "belt-fed machine guns and heat-seeking missiles" in their cars? Mr. Suprynowicz got one thing right: "...'militia'...had a very different meaning two hundred years ago. But if we use the eighteenth century definition of 'militia' today, wouldn't we also have to use the eighteenth century definition of 'arms', and therefore limit the people to single shot muzzle loaders? And what about the term 'well-regulated'? Sounds to me like the founding fathers had the foresight to specifically call for sensible gun regulations.

Charles Meyer

Charles --

I saw the letter your wrote concerning Vin Suprynowicz and his interpretation of the Second Amendment. For what it's worth, he is entirely correct. The Founders intended the people to be able to overthrow the government any time they felt it necessary. Of course Jefferson pointed out that such a thing wasn't to be undertaken lightly, but that didn't keep him from advising his nephew to take a gun with him everywhere.

And of course overthrowing -- or merely intimidating -- the government requires the proper tools.

But don't take my word for it. Read the words of the Founders themselves -- which I'm sure are quoted on Vin's website and are easily available anywhere you care to look (I'll help you find them). None of them made any mystery of their intentions, but wrote of them frequently, in articles and in letters to their friends and relatives.

Tell you what, Charles: just for starters, read "The Embarrassing Second Amendment" by liberal Constitutional scholar Sanford Levinson. You'll be surprised. Again, you can find it almost anywhere on the web, but I'll gladly send it to you if need be.

This is a test of your character and integrity, Charles. Read the material, open your mind, learn something important that you've been lied to about, and change your position. Or not. Your choice. But in the end, either way, we'll know what you're made of, won't we?

L. Neil Smith

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Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined. Patrick Henry, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788)

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