The gun-control debate has unleashed more passion than rational discussion. Surprisingly, despite the unfailing references to the Second Amendment by those who feel threatened by any possible abridgment of ''Second Amendment rights,'' not once have I found (in my fairly wide reading of local and national news sources) the Second Amendment quoted in its entirety: ''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.''
It should be obvious that the authors of this simple statement intended the militia to be under the orders of government, not simply a self-selected group or groups pursuing their own petty interests.
Edward H. Germann Huntsville, Ala.
Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet E-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.