Gun control debate is not over - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Gun control debate is not over

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Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011 7:00 pm

In response to Andrew Hedlund's article on the current status of gun control in Arizona (AFN, April 29), I would like to make the following observations:

Neither side in the debate over SB 1467 is in a position to claim victory or mourn defeat. The governor's veto on the grounds the bill was poorly written invites re-submittal with more precise language. This particular debate isn't over yet.

Constitutional law professor Paul Bender of Arizona State University is quoted to mention that the Supreme Court has ruled that you can have reasonable gun regulations and follows with his own notion of what might be reasonable. However, it seemed to me the court left that very open. I expect the meaning of "reasonable" will be determined only after a decade or more of subsequent challenges and rulings. Bender thinks a reasonable limitation would be to that of "traditional" use, which suggests he has some originalist tendencies.

That being the case, consider that the authors of the Second Amendment were likely informed by events of their recent past such as the famous encounters between the colonists and British regulars at Concord and Lexington. The historian David Hackett Fischer in his tome, Paul Revere's Ride, tells us that a major objective of the regulars' advance of those communities was to confiscate cannon and large stocks of gunpowder kept for self defense. We may think an 18th century cannon to be quaint, but its potential for destruction and lethality likely exceeds a modern assault rifle. As the court struggles with discovering the original meaning of the Second Amendment, even modern Libertarians may find discomfort with a radical political outlook obscured beneath powdered wigs and silk knee stockings.

Sandy Jane Wong

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