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I strongly disagree with a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision where the Court stated the Second Amendment to the Constitution does not apply to Massachusetts. This is a dangerous decision not only for gun owners and sportsmen, but also for all citizens who believe that states are subject to all the Amendments of the Constitution.
As the United States Supreme Court affirmed in the Heller case, the Second Amendment plainly guarantees Americans a personal and individual right to own a firearm. This part of the Bill of Rights is based on our Founders’ appreciation of the need for citizens of a democracy to protect them from tyranny.
I believe our Constitution must be strictly construed, and I think public confidence in our government is undermined whenever courts purport to change the Constitution’s meaning unilaterally. I find it especially offensive that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the highest court of the state that was home to the battles of Lexington and Concord, would seek to avoid the individual liberties guaranteed by the Second Amendment mere weeks before Massachusetts residents celebrate Patriots’ Day.
The Second Amendment is about a lot more than just guns, but for now let us be clear, our Founding Fathers did not trust government and thus they loaded up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights with numerous protections concerning individual rights and limits on government’s power. One cannot disregard the Second Amendment without putting our other Constitutional projections in jeopardy.
While the Framers of our Constitution were indeed the elite citizens of their time, they were purposely driven to create a new and free nation: One not controlled by a group of elite nobility, but one of the common man. Remember, this is exactly what they were revolting against. The Founding Fathers had risked their reputations, their fortunes and even their own lives to rid themselves of an overreaching monarchy. The Second Amendment is about a lot more than just guns. It stands along with all the other personal rights provided to us in the Bill of Rights. These rights were provided to protect us from an abusive government and not to grant additional power to the government.
In fact, the Founders displayed how important this right was by placing it second among the rights and liberties included in the Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers did not trust government, whether it was the old one in England or the new government forming in the American colonies. They undoubtedly understood that if the ultimate power to alter an unresponsive government was to be retained by the people, that these very same people must possess the right to keep firearms to defend themselves against a tyrannical government that could possibly develop at some point in the future.
As a former police officer, I agree and understand the need to have reasonable public safety laws; however, the Court’s decision today does much more than simply uphold gun safety laws, it sadly erodes an individual right.
As a State Legislator, I am a co-sponsor of House Bill 2259. If passed as written, this Bill would dramatically change the landscape of our current gun laws in a way that would benefit every lawful gun owner. In addition, the Bill would ensure that those residents who cannot safely own or possess a firearm do not. We currently have 351 different cities and towns with often different standards. While I support decisions being made at the local level, we need uniform guidelines to both protect Constitutional rights and public safety.