The Second Amendment You Say?

At a hearing before the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group in Hartford, CT, Neil Heslin faced shouts of “The Second Amendment!” as he delivered his testimony. Heslin is the father of 6-year old Jesse Lewis, a victim of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Welcome to America - image by Alan CleaverFather of Newtown victim heckled at hearing

Connecticut Post — The sometimes boisterous public hearing — after nearly four hours of testimony from State Police, parents of slain Newtown first-graders and city mayors — seemed dominated by gun owners, who railed at more than 90 proposed bills.

“The Second Amendment!” was shouted a couple of times by as many as a dozen gun enthusiasts in the meeting room as Neil Heslin, holding a photo of his slain 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, asked why Bushmaster assault-style weapons are allowed to be sold in the state.
“There are a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened,” said Heslin, who said he grew up using guns and was undisturbed by the interruption of his testimony.

“That wasn’t just a killing, it was a massacre,” said Heslin, who recalled dropping off his son at Sandy Hook Elementary school shortly before Lanza opened fire. “I just hope some good can come out of this.”

When defense of assault weapons starts and ends with shouts of “The Second Amendment!” it’s fairly obvious you aren’t dealing with constitutional scholars.

There’s no time in the history of the United States of America where the Second Amendment has guaranteed citizens the right to own any and all types of firearms. States and even local jurisdictions have passed laws restricting the types of firearms that can be legally owned. While a Supreme Court ruling in 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller), was a huge success for gun advocates, even the majority opinion of that NRA-friendly ruling stated that reasonable restrictions are constitutional. In this particular case they ruled a ban on handguns in D.C. was beyond reasonable.

If there is anything to learn from D.C. v. Heller, what is or isn’t constitutional is at the whim of society. The specific wording of the Second Amendment does not guaranteed the right to own any type of firearms technology not yet invented at the time of it’s drafting. It doesn’t even say you have the right to own a firearm for the purpose of protecting home and family. It has been the courts that have upheld that interpretation. — And interpretations are always subject to change.

image by Alan Cleaver

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