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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 1, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Gun rights: Times have changed since the creation of the Second Amendment

My thanks to Times columnist Jerry Large for his common sense call for repeal of the Second Amendment [“Common sense calls for repeal of Second Amendment,” Local News, May 1]. It begins with “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state …” These phrases have been thought to be only introductory and therefore not having the force of law.

That thought apparently does not consider late-18th century U.S. military history. The standing army, then called the Continental Army, was very small and incapable of significant warfare. To be effective, it was augmented by state and local militias, including some organized and funded by prominent individuals.

Most militia enlistees came from rural areas and owned rifles or other weapons with which to obtain food and protect livestock from predators. Many enlistments provided for them to arm themselves with those weapons — a provision that added significantly to the armaments of the militias and was the main purpose for the Second Amendment, which established the people’s “right to keep and bear arms.”

Now we have a large, powerful standing army supported by a large, well-armed national guard. Militias, with their short-term enlistments and rifles brought from home, exist only in memory — negating the need the Second Amendment.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Congress has been bought and paid for by the National Rifle Association.

Harry Petersen, Bellevue

Comments | More in Gun control | Topics: gun control, gun rights, guns

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