To the Editor: I want to thank Ms. Muse of Rye for exercising her right of freedom of expression for her letter published in the Union Leader on Aug. 13. Thanks are also in order to this newspaper for upholding the right of freedom of the press in publishing her opinions on the use of the clause “well regulated” in her discussion of our Second Amendment.
When the Second Amendment was penned, the words “well regulated” meant “well practiced.” It was considered impractical for the citizens to become handy with firearms unless they used firearms in their daily life. Powder, flints and projectiles were scarce.
Readers and scholars of American military history understand references to “regulars” and “irregulars,” the former being practiced and regularly assembled militias of combatants, and the latter less so and served on a “call up” basis.
“Well regulated” did not refer to the presence of regulations or laws governing the use or possession of firearms.
It’s important to understand that the Second Amendment does not confer a right to bear arms. That right is pre-existent. The Second Amendment forbids the government from abridging that right.
If Ms. Muse were to check local, state and federal law or has had the opportunity to purchase a firearm lately she would see that firearms currently are well regulated under those laws.
As Ben Franklin once stressed, those who think they can trade away essential freedoms in order to gain a bit of additional security neither deserve, nor will long possess either.
GEORGE A. HUBBARD