The limited right to bear arms

Hirosaki, Aomori

Recent letters concerning gun control may create the impression that the U.S. Constitution guarantees unlimited personal rights to keep and bear firearms for the purposes of armed insurrection.

While a casual, out-of-context reading of the second half of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution could lead to that impression, the first half of the amendment clearly refers to government regulation and state security, placing “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” in the context of the state militia system, which has evolved into today’s National Guard.

While the Supreme Court has recently ruled that there is an individual right to own firearms, a view that I support, there is no unlimited right to own firearms free from regulation.

Furthermore, this right exists in the context of defending the United States, not “to resist government tyranny” from our elected officials. Rebellion, levying war against the U.S., is labeled treason in another part of the constitution. That’s not why Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. Many Americans hunt for food, and have done so for centuries.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

john philips