Monday December 24, 2012

The time has come for us, the people, who ordained and established the Constitution of the United States and ratified its amendments through our Congress and states, to speak once more. Regrettably, an outworn and useless, but nonetheless harmful, portion of our precious Bill of Rights must be relieved of further service. The once unique and honorable Second Amendment must now at long last be laid to honored rest.

As one who spent 22 years of his adult life as a member of "A well-regulated militia," the National Guard of the United States, I can completely attest that we no longer need a constitutional right to "keep and bear arms" in order to preserve "the security of a free state." We can rest assured that the armed forces of the United States, with support as needed from their reserves and militias, as defined by law, will carry out that mission, otherwise unassisted by an armed populace.

Our Supreme Court, in a sharply divided decision in 2008, over vigorous dissent, held that the Second Amendment protected the limited right of individuals to keep and bear arms, but that the right to keep a firearm in one’s home for self-defense was definitively protected by the amendment.

Few other, if any, dangerous objects enjoy that kind of constitutional protection. Automobiles, for example, have been noted to cause more death and injury in the United States than do firearms, yet they enjoy no such Constitutional protection. Government can require that motor vehicles be registered and operators licensed before vehicles may be taken onto public ways. Governments can mandate safety and health requirements for the manufacture and marketing as well as possession and operation of motor vehicles in public, all without being subject to the kind of constitutional protection accorded to concealed firearms. A drunk can carry a loaded, safety-off firearm where he or she cannot drive a dump truck.

Enough is enough. We need endure no more grief. Let us lay to rest this by now outworn relic of bygone days.

As has been said: "If not now, when?"

RICHARD J. ISRAEL

Great Barrington

The writer is a retired associate justice of the Superior Court of the state of Rhode Island.