Letter to the Editor

Rights restrictions

OceanoAugust 28, 2013 

Our Constitution’s Bill of Rights was created to place limits on what the government can do, not to give carte blanche to citizens. We have freedom of speech, but we do not have the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater. We have freedom of religion, but if a religion allows adults to marry 12-year-olds, the government can restrict that right. We have the right to be free from warrantless searches, but a police officer can search someone for weapons without a warrant in order to protect his or her safety.

Like every other right in the Constitution, reasonable restrictions may be placed on the right to bear arms. “Arms,” after all, means any type of armament, not just handguns and rifles. Should the right to bear arms mean that a private citizen can own a cluster bomb, a cruise missile or a nuclear weapon?

The government cannot place a blanket restriction on the ownership of all arms. But it can restrict what types of arms a private citizen may possess. We have a court system to decide which restrictions are constitutional and which are not. And it has worked for us for more than 220 years.

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