The Second Amendment is an anachronism

Personal Weapon ControlGun ControlInterior PolicyPolitics

I hope the groundswell of emotional energy on display in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings will be conserved for a rational approach to effective gun legislation next spring ("Battle lines form in gun debate," Dec. 19).

Congress is making the usual noises about re-establishing the ban on assault weapons and large magazines. Doubtless that legislation will pass — and along with it the furor over gun control will dwindle — but over time the result will be just like skimming grease off the surface of a bucket of sludge. Given a year or two and the grease will re-appear, and so will the assault weapons.

Most efforts by municipalities and states to control gun ownership do not stand much of chance if the relevant laws are challenged and taken to the Supreme Court. Despite the learned arguments of the lawyers and the judges' personal views, Supreme Court justices have to weigh the argument against the Second Amendment.

This artless amendment, written for a post-revolutionary period, remains a block to any contemporary gun control measures because these laws do indeed abridge the rights of citizens to bear arms

It will take a courageous Congress to put together a package of legislation that spells out the rights and privileges of gun ownership in contemporary society. But we need to do it, and to repeal the Second Amendment.

Donald Hart, Baltimore

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