Letter: Guns and Liberty

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Colin Standfield's letter is incorrect (22 April). The men who wrote the American Bill of Rights knew the writings of Justice Sir William Blackstone, who's Commentaries on the English Constitution (1765) is still the definitive work.

In describing our rights, Blackstone wrote: "These rights consist, primarily, in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty and of private property. And lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the King and Parliament for the redress of grievances; and lastly to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defence."

The Second Amendment - "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" - is based on the English constitutional guarantee. It is a personal guarantee to the people, to defend themselves against criminals, foreign invaders and domestic dictators.

These three reasons are as valid today as they were in 1791. Ethnic cleansing could not have happened in Kosovo if the people were armed.

In Britain, laws since 1920 have now removed our right to own handguns, for self defence or anything else. And what has resulted? Violent crime in Britain has steadily increased.

Disarming honest citizens is the action of dictators because the people no longer have the ability to remove their government. If the people are disarmed, only criminals will have guns.