Some helpful information on the Second Amendment for Ron Holt (“I am not Yosemite Sam,” June 12) and his fellow gun admirers and regulation scorners:
1. English lesson. The amendment opens with a clause, which states the purpose and application of the amendment: to allow for properly regulated militias among the several states. Everything in the amendment is about management of state militias; nothing about private ownership of firearms is mentioned or implied in it.
2. History lesson. State militias continued until the Civil War period, when they were eventually subsumed into the federal army and subsequently evolved into the National Guard, a military organization operated by the states under the ultimate authority of the federal government. There are now no state militias as such, and thus no need to direct the proper regulation of them.
3. Political science lesson. The amendment was included for military purposes only and never was intended as an authorization for citizens to arm themselves against a government they might decide is tyrannical. Violent overthrow of government is covered elsewhere in law (U.S. Code No. 2385) where it is expressly made unlawful.
4. Moral lesson. Constitutions are made for people, not the reverse. It is evil to use any part of a constitution to protect the pleasures of any group at the expense of full safety for the population at large. Special agenda groups may urge that attention be confined to other factors affecting public safety; however, the issue before us presently is achieving adequate control of the physical instruments of death and maiming (yes, guns).
-- Art Tyree - Mountain View