Letter: Denver tragedy

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The Independent Culture
Denver tragedy

Sir: If an argument against a written constitution were needed, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is it. It was designed not to put semi-automatic machine guns into the hands of 18-year-olds but to limit the power of the national government to disarm a state militia, "a well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State".

After 200 years, it can be seen to be badly drafted and it has been even worse construed. But it is "constitutional" and therefore all but immutable. The entire US Constitution reflects only the attitudes and aspirations of its time, and we need to remember that it contained a compromise permitting the slave trade until 1808. Not until 1865 was the trade abolished by the 13th Amendment.

The terrible events in Littleton are just one result of a set of rules practically cast in stone more than two centuries ago. The National Rifle Association will, of course, contest to the utmost a further amendment to limit the carrying of weapons, even though there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent individual states' so doing.