Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2018

Letter to the editor: True original intent

March 15, 2018


To the editor:

As an “originalist” I understand that what James Madison meant by “arms” when he drafted the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was single-shot muzzle loaders and swords. As in many other areas of 21st century life, the slow process of legislation and judicial interpretation is lagging woefully behind the pace of technological creativity. The AR-15 is commonly sold with a 30-shot magazine. I see no technical reason why this could not soon become a 100-shot magazine. Time to admit three things:

1) We are so late waking up to these issues that there will be many more mass murders because there are so many military-grade weapons already in the hands of who-knows-who.

2) That most mass murderers are first offenders, i.e., that they are, until the “tragic” day, the very law-abiding citizens the NRA hopes, naively, to represent.

3) That teachers are taking bullets for our kids while our elected government is doing — and sacrificing — nothing. Who in this picture is underpaid and who is overpaid? If you want a weapon to defend your home, fine. But, unless you are a lousy shot, I doubt you need a high-capacity magazine to do it, and, by the way, your kids are not at home, they’re at school.


Steve Hicks 2 months, 1 week ago

Thanks, Dan, for adding some worthwhile thoughts to the doctrinaire "positions" we usually hear.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

"...I see no technical reason why this could not soon become a 100-shot magazine. Time to admit three things..." There are 100 round drum-type magazines right now. They're heavy, bulky, and unbalance the rifle. They also tend to be jam-o-matics. The modern sporting rifles that are very popular are not fully automatic and therefore are not military-grade. Keep on parroting sound bites that you fail to understand, it's most amusing. And, yes, AR-type rifles are used for home-protection. BTW, the word "need" doesn't appear in the Second Amendment.

Jim Slade 2 months, 1 week ago

Neither is ammunition. So I guess we can ban ammunition and we'll be alright. 2A rights intact and the chances of a mass shooting decrease dramatically.

Bob Summers 2 months, 1 week ago

It is not complicated.

Keep firearms out of the hands of complex critical thinking Liberal gun-nuts.

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

It’s real simple. We can agree with Mr. Johnson, but we must be consistent and apply his logic to the other rights. No first amendment protection for the speech except when spoken, handwritten or printed on a mechanical printer. No demanding taking religion out of public places since it was allowed back then and of course no protection of abortion as a right since it was not thought of by the Framers and there is no specific mention of it in the Constitution.

Mr. Johnson needs to get his facts straight. Most mass shootings are not committed by first time offenders. Look at all the mass shootings in our major cities. Look at the mass shooting that just occurred on Mass street - they were not first time offenders were they?

Michael Joseph Walsh 2 months, 1 week ago

There was nothing specifically in the Constitution making abortion a crime and in Numbers 5:11-31 God directs husbands to cause their wives to abort if they believe they were unfaithful. You need to get your facts straight.

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

We are not a theocracy so the Bible isn’t relevant.

There is nothing in the Constitution affirming it as right is there?

You are obliviously ignorant about the Constitution if you think something has to be stated in the Constitution for it to be a crime, where is murder stated as a crime.

Carry on.

Steve Hicks 2 months, 1 week ago

No, Michael, that passage is not about abortion.

It's a trial procedure, to determine if a husband is wrong saying (and thinking) that his wife is adulterous, or if a woman is telling the truth that she's not.

That passage of scripture says nothing, one way or the other, about the woman in the case being pregnant. The procedure is the same either way. How is it about abortion if the woman is not pregnant ?

The only mention of pregnancy in that passage is that if the procedure shows she's blameless "...she will then be free and conceive children" (v. 28). The opposite result from abortion.

Did you read the passage ? If not, who told you that it says "God directs husbands to cause their wives to abort if they believe they were unfaithful" ?

"You need to get your facts straight."

Well put, Michael.

Jim Slade 2 months, 1 week ago

“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

Drink this potion, if you have cheated and are pregnant this will abort the child.

Sounds like abortion instructions to me.

Aaron McGrogor 2 months, 1 week ago

What I learned from church: Anything you don't like about the passages was "not meant to be taken literally".

Steve Hicks 2 months, 1 week ago

I've forgotten most of my Hebrew, but here's a trustworthy site for a literal translation of those verses: (read right to left). Good modern translations stick closer to that literal Hebrew, saying something like

"...then the priest shall have the woman swear with the oath of the curse, and the priest shall say to the woman, 'the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people by the Lord’s making your thigh waste away and your abdomen swell; and this water that brings a curse shall go into your stomach, and make your abdomen swell and your thigh waste away.'..." (

The Hebrew word(s) for "abortion" or "miscarriage" don't appear in that passage.

Whatever the translation, it's clearly not talking about abortion. None of the things the woman ingests as part of the trial-procedure (holy water, dust from the temple, etc.) are abortifacients.

The ingredients don't seem to cause any effects for the woman who ingests them, unless she's lied in swearing to her innocence.

It's a trial procedure...and only effects those who lie...which God determines...and its effects are God's judgement on those who lie: those telling the truth suffer no effects.

There's nothing in that passage about abortion. Claiming it says "God directs husbands to cause their wives to abort if they believe they were unfaithful" is a complete mis-characterization.

Cary Ediger 2 months, 1 week ago

Yep, like a bad movie that never ends.....

Brock Masters 2 months, 1 week ago

Here are solutions that will affect real change and not infringe on the. Right of the people.

I challenge others to offer real solutions.

Enhance the background check database by adequately funding it and the FBI to manage it. Prosecute people who lie on their gun purchase affidavit.

Require health care professionals to report patients suffering from certain mental illnesses or using certain drugs for treatment to the background check database. We have to be careful here because we want to keep guns out of the hands of people who have mental illnesses and are more likely to commit a violent act or commit suicide, but we don’t want to deter people from seeking help.

Provide funding for more mental health access that is affordable.

Enact a law that would allow people to report a person who they believe will harm others or themselves and be able, after due process, to remove their guns. Due process is essential, but it can happen quickly. Also, make it a criminal act to falsely accuse someone.

Fund voluntary gun safety training and PSAs to promote the safe handling, storage and use of firearms. We use taxpayer dollars to fund all kinds of safety programs so why not this. I am sure there are people who would like training but can’t afford it.

Increase the penalties from the paltry 3 years many states have for felons illegally possessing guns to 25 years.

Make sentences mandatory no parole for anyone convicted of a felony while using or in possession of a firearm. And such sentences shall be at least 25 yers.

Strengthen laws and increase penalties for stealing or possessing a stolen gun to at least 25 years with no possibility of parole.

Stop imprisoning drug users, provide them treatment and thus make room for these deadly criminals.

Allow the CDC to study gun violence and offer recommendations for curbing it.

Ban bump stocks - no purpose other than to circumvent the law regarding full auto.

All are doable, none infringe upon my rights and all will help reduce crime.

Steve Hicks 2 months, 1 week ago

There are...or were...Artificial Intelligence developments that looked promising for "owner recognition" to be installed on guns. Primarily, as I recall, to prevent an officer's gun from being used to shoot the officer if it was taken from him.

It would seem that might be applied to other uses as well (to prevent criminals' use of firearms stolen from all those famous "law-abiding gun-owners," for example).

As I recall, the development of such capability was shut down after the N.R.A. argued against it.

A commenter on another recent "guns" thread also suggested that the sale of ammunition be controlled more tightly: that idea also seems like it could have possibilities.

Conrad Griebel 2 months, 1 week ago

Yes, but how often does your iPhone not recognize your fingerprint? And what if your life, God forbid, depended on it?

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

"....As I recall, the development of such capability was shut down after the N.R.A. argued against it...." Your recall is seriously flawed. Blame it on the state of New Jersey.

Steve Hicks 2 months, 1 week ago

There's a good summary of the history, and varieties, of "smart guns" at

The N.R.A. has opposed the development of "smart guns" since 2000, when Smith and Wesson signed, and Glock seemed ready to sign, an agreement with the federal government to voluntarily reform its practices in the aftermath of the Columbine massacre.

Those reforms included "...child-safe triggers, the development of 'smart guns' that could be fired only by the owner, and a ban on sales to gun dealers linked to crimes and those with loose policies regarding background checks" (

The N.R.A.'s hysterical opposition can be read here:

The N.R.A. doubled-down on opposing 'smart guns' after New Jersey passed the "Childproof Handgun Law of 2002," which mandates that once "personalized handguns are available" anywhere in the country, all handguns sold in New Jersey must be smart guns within 30 months.

The "gun-rights" crowd in 2014 went after local gun-dealers in California and Maryland who wanted to offer a German "smart gun" for sale, and forced both to drop their plans. No doubt the N.R.A. feared, like the rest of their crowd, that the dealers would trigger the New Jersey law: they noted, but didn't claim, that "victory" against smart guns.

New Jersey legislators, finding their law was working AGAINST "smart guns" being available, offered to repeal the law "...if the National Rifle Association will publicly agree not to stand in the way of the technology."

To date, the N.R.A. has not agreed to publicly state it's not opposed to the development of "smart gun" technology. The N.R.A.'s "Institute for Legislative Action" website meanwhile continues to print "news"-items highlighting "smart gun" technology problems. Search for examples here:

Guess my memory of the N.R.A.'s opposition to "smart guns" was better than I thought.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

Most of your citations involve incidents that were in response to the New Jersey law.

Bob Summers 2 months, 1 week ago

Notice the Liberal gun-nuts schemes to limit citizens to arm themselves.

It is in their nature to bully. They will say and do anything to disarm you.

The 2nd was drafted because of the Liberal ideology.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

In other news: Obama Directed FBI to Purge NICS (Gun Background Check Database) of Names of 500,000 Fugitives

Jim Slade 2 months, 1 week ago

Schrodinger's Patriot: "People need to start respecting the flag of the government I'm stockpiling arms against!"

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 2 months ago

i will sit this one out, but agree with Mr. Smith, as usual.

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