February 15, 2013

Gun ownership should not be unregulated

Letter to the Editor

Louis T. Sigel's recent well-written letter clearly shows that David Trahan, Sportsman's Alliance of Maine executive director; Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association president; John Martin, former speaker of the Maine House; members of the current right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court and many gun owners, are willfully ignorant (i.e. have shown a "bad-faith decision to remain ignorant") about the Second Amendment.

That willful ignorance has fostered the proliferation of guns, which in turn has led to increased gun violence in our society.

Willful ignorance of constitutional intent has serious consequences for society, as shown by the 1886 Supreme Court case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co., which surreptitiously gave corporations "person" status. (Corporations are legally "artificial" persons given "life" by their state-granted charters.)

Human-like personhood has allowed corporations to claim Fourteenth Amendment protection: "nor shall any state deprive any person of life." (That limited the ability of the state to revoke corporation charters for cause.) The Fourteenth Amendment, enacted during Reconstruction, was intended to guarantee freed slaves the right to vote, not to protect corporations.

The gist of all this is that the silent, uninformed and disinterested majority has not challenged the NRA, SAM, gun enthusiasts and even the Supreme Court about claiming the erroneous right of unregulated gun ownership.

How can anyone not understand the intent of the first words of the Second Amendment, "a well-regulated militia"?

The serious consequences of allowing this slanted interpretation of the Second Amendment to continue are demonstrated by our having the highest gun-related murder rate among developed countries.

The only logical and positive way to assure reduce gun-related violence in our society is not to limit gun ownership but instead require the registration of all guns and the licensing of all owners.

Jim Chiddix

Waterville

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