To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the flurry of letters defending the Second Amendment on its original purpose, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to protect ourselves from the tyranny of government.” In those days, everybody had guns because there was plenty to protect yourself against, including your neighbor since there was no police protection; Native American attacks from the original Americans who were mighty upset because we took their land; the British or French army from invading again; or the tyranny of the New colonial government with talk about organizing a standing army that could take away our new rights.
In 1789, everybody, just about, had a gun and needed one. Not so today. Most of the people I know don’t need one. But there are some who do. So the solution is not the Second Amendment, where everyone has the right to a gun, or those who claim nobody should have a gun. Here I think there can be great agreement among most of us, that there has to be restrictions, penalties, enforcement, much stronger than what we have, about who can have and keep a gun.
There is also mental health services, a culture of gun violence, criminals who do most of the killing, and the question of who is at risk for killing someone. In other words, a whole shifting to help make it much harder for the next Newton massacre to happen. We need to begin talking together seriously about these things.