In a recent letter (CDT, 1/9), Phil Edmunds, of Boalsburg, raised concerns about President Barack Obama’s views on the Second Amendment.
There are several issues to note here. First, the Supreme Court has made clear that regulation of firearms is fully within the powers and interests of the government. This is no surprise; every other freedom we enjoy — speech, press, religion and assembly — is subject to restrictions.
Second, we must distinguish between the actions and powers of a legislator and a chief executive. Edmunds relates the story of Obama’s votes on firearms regulation as an Illinois state legislator. These votes have little bearing on his responsibilities and powers as president. President Obama, over a period of seven years, did virtually nothing in terms of firearms regulation simply because he does not have the authority. The recent actions that he has taken are very limited because he must make the case that whatever regulatory changes he does make are consistent with current law and with the Constitution.
Third, Second Amendment absolutists must come to understand that those who favor strict gun regulations can still respect the Second Amendment. Surely reasonable people can respectfully differ on the type and degree of firearms regulation. Even those of us who disagree with the Supreme Court’s 2008 interpretation of the amendment as granting an individual right to bear arms — as opposed to a collective right related to a “well-regulated militia” — can still accept the court’s decision and respect the law.
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Joseph Kulik, Lemont