Still an outright fraud

April 02, 1991

Members of the National Rifle Association and kindred souls have been in high dudgeon since we published an editorial on March 14 stating that the gun advocates' interpretation placed on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- the so-called "right to bear arms" amendment -- was an outright fraud.

We have published a representative number of letters objecting to that point of view, but we note that not a single one of those letters has challenged the basic assumption, which is that not once in the history of the country has the U.S. Supreme Court even come close to ruling that the Second Amendment carries the kind of weight the gun advocates maintain it does.

No one stated the case more forcefully than former Harvard Law School Dean Erwin N. Griswold, who was also solicitor general in the Nixon administration: "Never in history has a federal court invalidated a law regulating the private ownership of firearms on Second Amendment grounds. Indeed, that the Second Amendment poses no barrier to strong gun laws is perhaps the most well-settled proposition in American constitutional law."

The gun advocates are entitled to their opinion on what the Second Amendment means, but they are not entitled to their facts. And the fact is, there is no private "right to bear arms," simply because the U.S. Supreme Court has made it crystal clear that there is no such right.

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