The following email exchange with a New York Times editorial writer was forwarded by the Virginia Citizens' Defense League (VCDL). The comments in brackets are by VCDL President Philip Van Cleave.
Opposed to Gun Rights?
Q. Can you please explain to me why the Times' editorials on guns are so vehemently opposed to gun rights?
-- Steve Brown, Springfield, Va.
A. Our editorials are not opposed to gun rights, vehemently or otherwise. We support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which says (quoting it in full, which opponents of reasonable regulation of guns rarely do): "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."
What does that mean to us? It means that the right to keep and bear arms is indeed enshrined in the Constitution. We do not go as far as some do and suggest that the authors of American democracy meant to restrict the bearing of arms to a militia, or in the modern context something like the National Guard. But it does clearly and unequivocally state that the bearing of arms would be regulated and that the goal is to ensure the security of a free state.
There is nothing in that language to suggest that the government may be barred from preventing the possession of firearms by criminals and others who threaten the security of the free state.
We believe that the people mentioned in this amendment are the law-abiding citizens of the United States.
In concrete terms, where does the Second Amendment endorse the formation of gun markets designed to evade the law and distribute guns to criminals so they can carry them to other states to commit violent crimes? [PVC: And where does it say that citizens are to be restricted so that criminals can't get guns?]
Where in the Second Amendment does it say that the federal government should make it impossible for law enforcement in New York to trace a gun used to commit murder simply because the gun was sold by a black-market dealer in Virginia? [PVC: Where does it say they CAN do so? The editor doesn't understand that the government can only do what the CONSTITUTION says it can do and no more. He is mixing up personal RIGHTS with governmental POWERS.]
Where in the Second Amendment does it say that ordinary citizens may buy automatic weapons created for the specific purpose of killing enemy soldiers on a battlefield and then load them with bullets designed to penetrate the body armor our police officers wear in the line of duty? [PVC: Still lost in the woods.]
Where in the Second Amendment does it forbid the federal government, or the states, from issuing rules that prohibit the sale of weapons to children, to the mentally ill, to violent criminal offenders? [PVC: Once you start with a false premise, you can go anywhere with it.]
We understand the emotions surrounding this issue, but would just like to suggest that those who oppose gun control stop for a moment and take a deep breath.
Do they really want to be on the side of those who buy and sell guns for the express purpose of committing violent crimes. Because that is where the anti-gun-control movement now makes its stand. [PVC: We want our gun rights UN-INFRINGED, just like the Constitution says.]
Our position is simple. Americans have a right to own weapons. The government has the right to know where those weapons are and who bought them. [PVC: Here we go again - the government DOES NOT HAVE RIGHTS!] It also has the right to decide that certain kinds of weapons are detrimental to the security of a free state when distributed freely to all comers, including violent criminals, and take measures to stop that from happening. The government, which has the well-established right to protect the health of its citizens by banning smoking in public spaces, has the right to protect the health of its citizens by requiring that gun makers install simple and cheap devices that have no impact on the legal functions of a firearm but protect children from accidental discharge. [PVC: Cigarettes are not constitutionally protected with a "shall not be infringed" status. The government is granted none of these authorities by the Constitution. Nice try at creating a "living constitution", New York Times, but no cigar.]
Unbelievable. Apparently, the NYT believes that the gov't has the "right" to do virtually anything in the name of the public good, as they define the public good, and the Bill of Rights is not an impediment when it comes to the public welfare.