I quite agree with a recent letter to this page reminding us that pistols existed at the time of our War of Independence. This said, let us not forget that the Maine Constitution is at variance with that of the United States, whose Second Amendment is familiar enough to all readers that it needn’t be quoted in its entirety here.
Insofar as the national Constitution differs from individual state ones, the overwhelming weight of judicial precedent is for the national one to prevail. (So, for example, Maine’s “shall never be questioned” clause would be trumped by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, which gives Americans the right to question anything whatever.)
Let us look again at the Second Amendment’s phrase “a well regulated militia,” conspicuously absent from the Maine state Constitution. Is it not self-evident that the Founders, in settling on this wording, believed a right to keep and bear arms as inextricably bound up with providing for the common defense of the nation?
If so, it would be entirely consistent with the Second Amendment were the U.S. Department of Defense to enroll all gun owners in America as auxiliary members of our armed forces. They would attend regular meetings at which they receive proper instruction in the use and safekeeping of their weapons and in the principles and goals that are of the essence in keeping the peace and defending our nation from all enemies foreign and domestic.
They also shall keep their guns properly locked up at home (or, in the case of military-grade weapons, safely stored in between drills at the public armories), and shall report for duty when called to serve, under the command of a corps of properly trained professional military officers.
Indeed, it is not at all clear that any right to bear arms in these United States exists independent of the U.S. Constitution’s stipulation of a well-regulated militia. What is clear is that concealed-carry laws don’t make anyone safer. Although twice as many states now have concealed-carry laws as in 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of intentional gun injuries per 100,000 has slightly increased nationwide (from 17.25 percent to 17.83 percent) during the same period.
Buy a rifle to shoot game if you consider it a necessary part of your family’s diet and enjoy the challenge of hunting something with a smaller brain than yours; pot away, if you must, at that groundhog who is devouring your garden. But do not be fooled by seditious propaganda-mongers who lie to you that your right to keep and bear arms is absolute, and would hoodwink you into thinking that you will somehow be safer if you have a loaded AR-15 by your bedside. It isn’t, and you aren’t — and how much less so your children and spouse!
And meanwhile the dreary litany of mass public shootings drones on and on. It is a nightmare from which I fervently pray that the citizens of this nation, armed and unarmed alike, will wake up and, in the immortal words of our beloved late President Reagan, “Just say no.”
Trenton and Painesville, Ohio