I wholeheartedly support Bruce Poliquin’s praise of our Constitution and the fundamental role it has played in our development as a nation (Maine Compass, “Second Amendment right to keep, bear arms inviolate, not open to interpretation,” June 3). I beg to differ when he begins to argue against “warped interpretations of a supposedly ‘living Constitution’.”

Supposedly living Constitution? That’s exactly what the Constitution is and has always been; a living document, and that’s what makes it so great. The very fact that we’re discussing an amendment to that Constitution proves the fact.

The Second Amendment is not only open to interpretation by the courts, but is also open to repeal as well, should the “people” decide as much. It is not, nor is our Constitution, written in stone, perfect and unchangeable. It is a political document, conceived in such a manner as to invite change as we the people see fit.

From the Constitution’s inception there were compromises, omissions and what are viewed today as outright wrongs that begged correction. Without change and interpretation we would still have slavery, voting rights would be based on race and sex, and alcoholic beverages banned.

Poliquin says, “The language of Second Amendment couldn’t be any clearer: ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’.”

Poliquin, however, is being less than forthright and clear himself when he chooses to quote only the last half of the brief, one-sentence Second Amendment. The full sentence reads as follows: “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.”

As author Michael Waldman writes in his book “The Second Amendment,” the language has been debated since it was written and “it’s foggy wording and odd locution stand out in the Constitution.” In short, it is not clear and always has been open for debate.

Poliquin further states those in power fail to “understand why (the Second Amendment) exists in the first place.” Really? He says it was “established to protect the people from a tyrannical government bent on disarming and subjugating the people.” Maybe, but that was in a time of post-revolution, before we had a standing army and militias were all that stood between us and foreign invaders. Or are to believe it refers to our own duly elected government, the very one into which Poliquin is asking us to elect him?

He goes on to write that “gun violence is a serious problem in the United States, but robbing Americans of their God-given rights won’t solve that problem.” So, the right to bear arms is no longer a creation of the founding fathers, but a “God-given” right? What a leap of faith. Is there any Scripture from any religion that mentions firearms, much less says Americans have the “God-given right” to own, say, assault weapons, but not those living in Denmark, Britain or elsewhere where they are banned?

Finally, Poliquin offers Maine as an example to the nation as “further proof of what should be common sense” i.e., since Maine has a high rate of firearm ownership and ranks near the bottom in gun violence, insinuating that there must therefore be a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the two. It’s not that simple.

Based upon his column about gun rights I would urge all Mainers, on both sides of the Second Amendment debate, to find and support a more worthy figure to represent our great state in Congress.

George D. Christie is a retired mason and social worker living with his wife and dog in New Vineyard.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: