Letters to the Editor

Readers write about gun rights and success in Iraq.

The high court's gun-rights decision didn't invent a right

Regarding your July 1 editorial, "High court aims low on gun right": Putting aside the consciously skewed description of the Second Amendment as a "newly minted right," the Monitor calls on lawmakers to do something truly obnoxious: to ignore the plain thrust of the law and rush to pass ordinances in direct contravention to it.

The Monitor's solution to the problem of an ideologically inconvenient landmark decision is not unlike that of hard-line conservatives who, in the wake of the court's decision against capital punishment in child rape cases, immediately called for new legislation that would violate the spirit (if not the letter) of that ruling, too.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Yes, I get it. The Monitor doesn't like gun rights and wants to "raise the bar" on who can and can't own a gun. But the approach the newspaper advocates is so astonishingly unprincipled and lowbrow in its "by any means necessary" desperation, I do wonder whether the editorial board has forgotten that in our democracy of laws, it is the province of our judicial system to say what the law is.

David D. Brown
Austin, Texas

Regarding your recent editorial on the Supreme Court's decision on District of Columbia v. Heller: First, the court did not create a right to gun ownership. Rather, it acknowledged that the Constitution means what it says when it refers to the "right of the people to keep and bear arms."

This right actually predates the Constitution and is one of those unalienable rights that individuals have – to protect and defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones. The right to defend one's life is not given by government and cannot be taken away by government.

Second, the decision did not defy "two centuries of laws" and it overruled no prior Supreme Court case. In fact, until relatively recently in our nation's history, it was assumed by all three branches of government that people had a right to own firearms, albeit with restrictions on ex-felons or insane people not being able to legally own them, and certain types of firearms such as machine guns being unlawful to purchase.

These restrictions remain in place. What does not remain in place is the ability of government to essentially completely ban firearm ownership, as was the case in the challenged Washington, D.C., laws.

We do not need government getting into the minutiae of our lives and making decisions for us about our safety. Individuals and individual families are capable of determining whether they will be safer with or without firearms in their home and whether they should be readily usable or not. We've done it for more than 200 years.

Blair Lindsay
St. Louis

Success in Iraq: US pullout

Regarding Stuart Gottlieb's July 7 Opinion piece, "The Democrats' foreign-policy game": Mr. Gottlieb and others fail to mention that the purpose of the surge was not only to reduce violence, but to enable Iraqi politicians to make necessary political reforms so the United States could pull out of Iraq. A mere reduction of violence as expected is not success.

If the surge has not allowed us to pull out, then it is not a success.

There are a number of good reasons why we should pull out in an orderly fashion, and there is no guarantee on what will happen in Iraq whether we stay or not. The status quo is not working in Afghanistan either, and we need to change our tactics and our strategy there also.

John Burris Jr.
New Orleans

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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