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Letter: State does have a right to set reasonable limits on firearms

State does have a right to set reasonable limits on firearms

A frequent contributor to Everybody’s Column recently wrote another letter sharply criticizing the SAFE Act as dumb and futile. In addition, the writer said that this state law violated the U.S. Constitution because the Second Amendment clearly states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That statement is simply mistaken.

The Supreme Court in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, in a decision written by the very conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, stated, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Scalia then made reference to a 1939 Supreme Court decision, United States v. Miller. Scalia stated, “We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms.” He wrote, “We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ”

Whether or not you believe the SAFE Act is dumb or futile, the truth is that a State Legislature does have the right to impose reasonable limitations on what kinds of firearms an individual can own and carry.

Richard W. Kirisits


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