A boy at a 2018 Second Amendment rally in Hartford. Marlese Lessing

This piece is in response to Mark Robinson’s Viewpoint on April 25The 2nd Amendment doesn’t say that.” My response to Robinson is that it sure as hell does.

In his piece, Robinson states that we need to “adjust” our understanding of the Second Amendment in that it was not written for an individual to carry a firearm. The only one whose understanding needs adjusting is Robinson’s.

The rights outlined in the Bill of Rights were understood to be god given inalienable rights. The U.S. Constitution was not written to give permission to the people but to the government as a boundary, protecting the people’s god-given rights. Both presently and during the writing of the Constitution, a militia was understood to be made up of a “body of citizens.” These militias were armed from the citizens that made them up with their own, wait for it, individual weapons.  

It was understood that individual arms were necessary to the militia and was reiterated in the Supreme Court’s 2008 landmark Heller decision in which Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion expressed “as the founding generation knew that “the way tyrants had eliminated a militia … was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents.”

The intent was not on preserving the actual physical militias but instead preserving the individual’s right to the arms themselves which in de facto preserves the peoples right to form said militias. The founders wrote the Constitution with a fresh account of what a tyrannical  government, foreign or domestic, looked like and understood that an armed populous was the only adversary to that.

This is, not to mention, what the actual modern day Heller case outlined, that individuals could in fact own and carry firearms and the government could not outright ban a class of commonly owned firearms.

One of the many examples in the majority opinion that clearly outlines this reads “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right.  The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of ‘arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose.  The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.” 

Also to counter Robinson’s argument that U.S. v Miller 1936 ruled against individual ownership of firearms, Scalia’s majority opinion expressed that the Heller decision  “…is consistent with how virtually all interpreters of the Second Amendment interpreted it in the century after its enactment (32-47), and is not foreclosed by any of our precedents (47-54), including United States v. Miller (49-53).”

In his piece, Robinson advocates for “ghost gun” registration, yet on the March 10 (2022) public hearing for this legislation,  CT Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella not only claimed they didn’t have data on “ghost gun” violent crime but it was something they didn’t even track!

How could you claim something is a problem without having data to show it’s a problem? Is the problem just that the government can’t track these weapons, because as precluded previously in my writing, that’s kind of the reason for writing the Second Amendment.

Robinson says we need to have “full-throated support” to strengthen carry laws to ban firearms on public transit amongst other public places. I ask, what about the young mother traveling alone with her child on a city bus through crime ridden areas who cannot carry her firearm on the bus, and as a result, her walk to and from the bus? According to the latest FBI Unified Crime Report (UCR) (2020) the number one location for violent crime offenses in Connecticut is on the “highway/alley/street/sidewalk”. We know criminals will not follows these laws, so are you really going to disarm the most vulnerable?

I am glad that the governor’s proposals alluded to by Robinson did not make it out of committee. The free people of the State of Connecticut will continue to enjoy our ‘unalienable’ rights as outline by the United States Constitution. I applaud the many individuals who spoke up against this legislation, who realized they had a voice, who realized these rights are worth fighting for, and who truly understands what the 2nd Amendment actually says.

Michael Rapetski lives in Cheshire.