Right to arms is moral, constitutional

To the Editor:

Morally, every individual has the God-given right to defend themselves from those who would take their life, liberty or property. If a person interferes with another who is defending themselves, for example, by restraining the defender while he is being beaten to death, they become an accomplice to the crime. Similarly, if people prevent others from defending their life by withholding access to arms (equivalent to the arms they might face) for defense through the force of law, they become accomplices to murders that otherwise would have been thwarted. Regardless of single-sided news reporting on guns used to facilitate crime, there are multitude instances of guns used by private individuals to prevent, stop or lessen crimes.

Ratification of the Constitution, the very establishment of the nation, was subject to the adoption all of the individual rights specified in the Bill of Rights. If the Second Amendment right to arms is subject to government permission (e.g., licensing), one must also believe First Amendment rights of religion, speech and press are subject to government permission (i.e., not rights at all). The Fourteenth Amendment established that the Bill of Rights applies to every level of government and every person not under criminal indictment or sentence.

The 4th Amendment provides for people to be secure in their persons and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures without duly issued warrants based upon probable cause (due process). Stopping people from purchasing an article is a seizure at the time of purchase. Moral justice and constitutional rule of law require law enforcement to have probable cause for their actions against a person’s freedoms and an opportunity for such person to defend against charges or infringement of rights in a court. "No Fly" (80,000) or "Terror Watch" (2,000,000) lists by administrative agencies are established without probable cause determination, independent court review and procedures for notification, challenge or removal of one’s name on the list.

The Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear Arms not to be infringed is both a moral right and a legal constitutional right. Legislation curtailing that right denigrates basic morality, the entire Bill of Rights, due process and the rule of law. People commit crimes, not weapons. We must restrict rights of the guilty few, not those of the innocent millions. Ultimately, the antidote to people aggressing on others’ rights is the ability of the other person to effectively resist.

Eldon L. Rash

Bedford