Common sense and gun rights can coexist

The Second Amendment was put into the Constitution specifically to allow states to maintain armed militias. For more than 200 years, the Supreme Court upheld this interpretation.

In the 2008 Heller decision, the court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment applied to an individual’s right to bear arms. However, even this conservative court stated in its decision that the Second Amendment should not be misunderstood as conferring “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever, for any purpose.” In this decision, the court specifically found that conditions on the commercial sales of firearms were lawful. The court also asserted that the Second Amendment is consistent with laws banning weapons that are “dangerous and unusual.”

As Colorado’s solicitor general, Mike McLachlan has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. So it’s probably fair to say that he has more than a basic grasp of constitutional law. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said of those who are still pushing this absurd recall. McLachlan has never “lied” or “changed his position” regarding the Second Amendment. It is possible to be “pro-gun” and still support some common-sense gun restrictions. Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has admitted that the Second Amendment does not grant unlimited rights.

Don’t let the NRA propaganda machine control this debate. McLachlan’s votes for Colorado’s new gun laws are not inconsistent with his campaign rhetoric or with the Second Amendment. Nobody could have predicted the Newtown, Conn., shootings before the last election. That event has dramatically galvanized public and political pressure to reform the current gun laws. McLachlan’s votes were cast in this light and were in no way politically dishonest.

Why is it when conservative legislators (Eric Cantor, et al) flip-flop on issues such as immigration reform, they are “evolving,” while McLachlan is a “liar” and a “traitor” for simply responding to a changing political and cultural landscape?

John Wickersham


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