Editor, Townsman:

I believe that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is one of those provisions, like the Electoral College and the District of Columbia, which may have made sense in colonial America, but is obsolete today. The second amendment says: "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."

It is the only article in the Bill of Rights where the Founding Fathers felt the need to explain why the people should have this particular right. All other rights are listed without explanation or justification - presumably because they were thought to be ‌inherent to a free society. The Second Amendment is different. It is a right born from necessity.

In colonial times, every able-bodied man was expected to join a militia and supply their own arms. There was no dominant standing army or police force. The militia provided security from outside threats, as well as from criminals. The militias supplied the bulk of soldiers to the army during the Revolutionary War. But people feared a standing federal army, so after the war the bulk of security fell back to the old colonial militias.

But as the U.S. grew during the 19th century, the old colonial militias largely disappeared and were replaced by federal armies. Professional police forces were created to enforce the law. The National Guard was eventually created to provide some of the services of the old militias, but it is mostly funded and armed by the federal government. The colonial-style militias became obsolete. As militias became obsolete, so did the rationale for the Second Amendment.

To be clear, I am not saying that because the Second Amendment is based on an invalid rationale that no one should be allowed to keep and bear arms. I am just hoping that someday we can discard the notion that each and every person in a civilized society automatically has an inherent right to arm themselves. I believe that the people of each state should have more freedom to determine which individuals should keep and bear arms in their state.

Andy Rouse

5 Cattle Crossing

Andover

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