Focus Point - The Right To Bear ArmsCommentary by Pete du Pont
November 14, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Should the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution be as broadly interpreted as the first? During the 20th century, courts championed the first amendment...guaranteeing freedoms of speech and assembly. "Congress shall make no law..." the amendment begins, and Justice William O. Douglas used to write one-sentence opinions in free speech cases. !! "No law means no law," Douglas would write-case dismissed!
However, arguments over the second amendment...the right to bear arms...have been more vigorous and controversial, especially when Columbine and drive-by shootings are in the news.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the right to bear arms is an individual right. It's not just the police or Army which can bear arms - each of us can as an individual.
The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. And history shows that the framers of the constitution...and especially George Mason who wrote most of the Bill of Rights...intended to guarantee the right of law-abiding citizens to have a gun, just as the first amendment protects freedoms of speech and assembly.
Those are my ideas, and at the N-C-P-A we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time...wildlife conservation.