Howard H. Gething: Second amendment cases

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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School shootings continue and our legislators do nothing; the implied mantra being that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct. It seems they need a refresher course on what has already been adjudicated on the matter.

The Second Amendment was never addressed by the Supreme Court until 1939. In the Miller v. United States case, the court declared, “The obvious purpose of the amendment was to arm militias, not individuals.”

The Amendment was never addressed again until 2008. In the District of Columbia v. Heller case, it was ruled that an individual did have the right to buy and possess firearms.

While supporters of the Second Amendment have embraced this latter decision, they seem to have forgotten the words of their revered conservative justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the court’s majority opinion. In it, he wrote, “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Then, referencing the Miller decision, he added, “The sorts of weapons protected were those in common use at the time. We think the limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

Scalia’s words thusly beg the question – why is there a problem now for legislators to pass laws prohibiting the sale of assault weapons, and imposing other restrictions. The Supreme Court has inferred such restrictions are adoptable.

If any conservative politician claims the contrary, then they are not a conservative in the mode of Scalia. Thoughts of them being hypocrites or in the pocket of special interests can’t help but come to mind.

Howard H. Gething
Santa Clarita

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