an open letter to my representatives in congress

Dear Honorable X:

In the wake of the mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, I am writing to ask you to begin each day by reading to the Senate the text of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and to ask the people’s representatives to think hard about its meaning — and then pass meaningful legislation regulating the ownership of assault weapons.

Despite his all-too-frequently announced “reverence” for the “original meaning” of the Constitution, Justice Scalia effectively wrote out of the constitution the first clause of the 2nd Amendment. And so we find ourselves where we are today.

The language of the Amendment is clear:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Sure, the language is a bit archaic and awkward, but, really, are you confused by what it says? The right to bear arms is specifically grounded in the need of the state for a well-regulated militia.

Only a member of a well-regulated militia, acting to preserve the security of a free state, needs a weapon whose only purpose is to kill as many people as possible as fast as possible. Only members of a well-regulated militia should be permitted to possess — or bear — such a weapon.

Many factors may contribute to mass shootings. But the guns are what make them possible and lethal.

It is time to restore the meaning of the full text of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution — and to reject the paranoid fantasies of those who believe they need a personal arsenal to protect themselves from their own government.

A free society has to be more than a society in which everyone goes about armed to the teeth — and where children are sent to school wearing body armor.

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