The constitutional right in the USA to bear arms is inextricably connected to the preservation of a militia
Stabroek News
November 7, 2001

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Dear Editor,

Mr. Keith Fernandes in his letter captioned "Some conditions necessary for gun issue" (5.ll.200l) has a very interesting way of interpreting my letter. I would suggest the interpretation is more artful than accurate. He states, "I am sure no one in their right mind would want every citizen armed with a handgun". I, on the other hand, refer to ownership of handguns by every "law abiding" citizen. Until someone commits their first crime he or she is a law abiding citizen. Mr. Fernandes would happily provide them with the means to commit their first crime and then try to take away their guns.

Further, I do not think facts are debatable, only the opinions and analyses drawn from them. There are many independent sources for the facts I quote but here's one source: the Atlanta Center for Disease Control , 2001 stated the following, "In the U.S. for 1998, there were 30,708 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 17,424; Homicide 12,102; Accident 866; Undetermined 316. This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S. The number of firearms-related injuries in the U.S., both fatal and non-fatal, increased through 1993, but has since declined steadily."

Now let's look at the "mythical" plastic handgun that the U.S. Congress apparently wasted its time debating: 100th Congress, 2nd Session, October 14, 1988, 4:03 p.m., Page S-16003 Temp. Record, Vote No. 375 DRUG BILL/Plastic Handgun Prohibition:

Those favoring the amendment contended: In February 1987, we first introduced legislation to protect the American public from plastic handguns. At the time, we recognized that these powerful firearms were undetectable with current conventional security systems and, therefore, posed a serious threat to the American population. The safety of our buildings, law-enforcement offices, and airports is jeopardized by this new handgun technology. According to experts, plastic firearms capable of eluding current detection equipment could soon be available for purchase. The imminent sale of these lethal weapons dictates that we take action now. Both the House and the Senate have previously passed plastic handgun legislation.

However, due to unworkable differences, a compromise bill has yet to be constructed. This amendment is identical to S. 2180, which passed the Senate unanimously last spring. By attaching this amendment to the drug bill, we can force the House and Senate conferees to reach a compromise and enact this all-important legislation. It has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and the National Rifle Association. No arguments were expressed in opposition to the amendment.

It should be noted that Red Eye Arms, Inc., Winter Park, FL, has developed and patented an all-polymer (i.e. plastic) handgun.

Finally, let's look at the much quoted American "right to bear arms": In Quilici v. Morton Grove the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.wrote: The second amendment provides that "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." U.S. Const. amend. II. Construing this language according to its plain meaning, it seems clear that the right to bear arms is inextricably connected to the preservation of a militia. This is precisely the manner in which the Supreme Court interpreted the second amendment in United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S.Ct. 816, 83 L.Ed. 1206 (1939), the only Supreme Court case specifically addressing that amendment's scope. There the Court held that the right to keep and bear arms extends only to those arms which are necessary to maintain a well regulated militia.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court does not believe that American citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms, only state militias (i.e. each state's National Guard).

As for my "imaginary" drunk neighbour, well I'll be joining him in the imaginary beer parlour across the street. Unfortunately the proprietor keeps demanding real money.

Yours faithfully,

Avinash Persaud