Here is the Second Amendment to the US Constitution [i]: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This clearly applies to the right of the population to bear arms in order to participate in a “well regulated militia,” for example to defend a city or state against attack.
It was a radical departure from the true historical intent when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that this could also apply to individuals, who want weapons for reasons completely unrelated to being in a militia, which they did in 2008 in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290). The Majority Opinion (a 5-4 decision) was written by a radical right-wing judicial activist, the late Antonin Scalia, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986 [ii].
Although Scalia completely reinterpreted the Second Amendment, he kept common-sense provisions. Scalia: “the Second Amendment right [iii] is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment. …” The court concluded that sawed-off shotguns could be banned because they have no purpose for a law-abiding citizen. Felons and the mentally ill could be prevented from having firearms. Finally, “the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons” remained constitutional.
The NRA vehemently opposes the Second Amendment, as interpreted by Scalia. The NRA supports the right of the criminally insane and terrorists to buy and carry weapons because they oppose universal background checks. The NRA supports the rights of anyone to carry unusual weapons — namely automatic weapons that have no purpose for a law-abiding citizen.
The NRA website calls the weapon used in the Orlando massacre, “The AR-15, America’s Best Defense against Terror and Crime.” According to its creator, Eugene Stoner [iv], “the weapon is a tool of war — never intended for civilians.”
The NRA is an anti-American organization that supports the rights of terrorists to obtain military-style weapons of mass destruction. They talk about hunting rifles being confiscated as a way to extract dues from gullible members. The NRA does not support the right of law-abiding citizens to go about their normal lives without fear of being attacked by a lunatic with an Uzi. They are directly responsible for enabling the mass murders that occur with regularity in this country, but almost nowhere else on earth [v].
It is the lunatic who pulls the trigger, but it is the NRA that puts the assault rifle in his hand.
[v] Germany enacted strict guns laws after two mass shootings, and had 61 gun homicides in 2014; the U.S. had 10,945 (Chicago Tribune, June 17, 2015, p. 16 “How Germans dealt with mass shootings”).
Tom DeCoursey is a resident of Oak Park.