The column by Prof. Nancy Wanderer about Justice Alito’s draft to throw out legal standards in regards to abortion (May 7) was quite interesting. In it, she states there are four legitimate reasons to overturn previous Supreme Court agreements. The effort to overrule met none of the four.

The fourth being that if the circumstances have changed so much since previous agreements were adopted that the old law can be overturned if it no longer has significant application or justification.

This doctrine clearly shows that the Second Amendment (right to bear arms) clearly meets that criteria.

Since the Second Amendment was written in the 18th century when arms consisted solely of muzzle-loading muskets., things have certainly changed. Nobody then was walking into a school, shopping area or theater and shooting a couple dozen people or more with an automatic rifle. That was not our founding fathers’ reason to guarantee everyone the right to bear arms. The reason then was to ensure that we had an armed, well-regulated militia (note the words, well-regulated). Today that would be the National Guard.

Certainly, 240 years later, circumstances have changed a great deal. Today, a person with an automatic rifle can kill as many as twenty or more people in a minute, the time it takes for a muzzle-loader to be re-loaded to fire a second shot. (In those days, if one loaded the gun too soon, a lingering spark could send the ram-rod into the loader.)

If messing with the abortion ruling works for a legitimate reason, the Second Amendment can and should be revisited, with good reason.


Peter P. Sirois


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