Self-preservation is a citizen’s natural right

Some argue that the Second Amendment does not make gun ownership a right, when really, it’s not about that.

The true heart of the Second Amendment is protection of the natural rights of the citizenry. It ensures the right of self-preservation and acts as a means to secure that right.

This right of self-preservation was described by John Locke in his 1690 “Second Treatise on Government,” from which the Framers drew heavily. Locke argues that this right allows men to live freely without interference by anything or anyone, including government.

It’s important to understand this point. Many of the Framers were students of Locke’s philosophical thinking and others of the time. It is ingrained into the very fabric of the Bill of Rights.

It even influenced Alexander Hamilton when he wrote in Federalist No. 28 that, “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that natural right of self-defense which is paramount to all forms of government.”

The Second Amendment is not a right bestowed by the government to the people. Quite the opposite. It secures the citizenry’s natural right of self-preservation from anything and anyone who wishes to take away their other natural rights or their liberty, including their own government.

To think that we, as free citizens, must ask the permission of our government for the right of self-preservation is simply ludicrous.

Mark Genarelli

Barboursville

‘Federalist Papers’ explain the Second Amendment

It seems a lot of people have a misconception of the meaning of the Second Amendment; The Bill of Rights gives no one anything. What it does do is stop the government from infringing on your right that is inherent to you just being a person. This goes way back 200 years in British common law.

There are estimated between 5 million and 10 million AR-15s in America. As of this writing, there have been 20 AR-15s used by school shooters. That is 0.0002 percent of AR-15s. You are worried about this? This is going to sound heartless but your child is more likely to be hit by lightning than be killed by a school shooter. It isn’t callous, it is just math.

If you really want to understand the Second Amendment, read “The Federalist Papers” written by the real writers of the Constitution — James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay — in particular numbers 29 and 36.

James Hoover

Wailuku

Need to be able to protect ourselves

To the editor:

Anyone in this country that thinks we, the citizens, don’t need AK47 and AR15 semi-automatic rifles and large capacity magazines just needs to look at what is happening in Hong Kong. If you don’t think that could happen in this country, you’ve got your head in the sand. In fact, we should have the same weapons as the military as it was set up when the Constitution was written. That’s what the second amendment is all about!

MATT KIILUNEN

This letter was submitted to the New York Times

Dear Letters Editor:

There’s a serious flaw in John Donohue and Theodora Boulouta’s claims about the 1994 assault weapons ban (“That Assault Weapon Ban? It Really Did Work,” September 4). There are few actual “assault weapons” of any type in their dataset, either pre- or post-ban.

According to data by Mother Jones magazine, there were 3 mass public shootings with assault weapons in the ten years before the assault weapons ban, 2 during the 10-year ban, and 4 in the ten years after. Shootings had to have six or more fatalities to be included. As the authors note, these changes constitute large percentage variations, but are not statistically significant.

If Donohue and Boulouta are right that the ban had an impact, it should have reduced the number of shootings with assault weapons relative to shootings with other guns. While the share of mass public shootings with assault weapons did indeed fall from 30% in the pre-ban period to 25% during the ban, it fell to just 14.8% in the post-ban period. If the ban was really the driving force behind the change, it makes little sense that the sharpest drop would occur after the ban expired.

Sincerely,

John R Lott, Jr., President of the Crime Prevention Research Center

Professor Carl Moody, Department of Economics, College of William & Mary