To the Editor:
This is a response to Mr. Peter Storm’s specious letter, (“What Was the Founding Fathers’ Intent?” (Connection, July 6-12, 2016) and the broader leftist propensity toward historical misinterpretation and misdirection regarding the 2nd Amendment.
Mr. Storm applied a selective “Founding Fathers” taxonomy (limited to the 56 signers of the Declaration) to assert that it’s not possible to determine the Founders’ intent behind the 2nd Amendment because they were “hardly involved” in authoring the Constitution, save the six men who signed both.
With this logic, readers are presumably supposed to feel compelled to foreswear an originalist hermeneutic and submit to the latest progressive assault on individual liberties.
Not so fast. This is a distinction without a difference.
Whether the authors and signers of the Constitution are binned as “Founders” or not has almost no bearing whatsoever on one’s ability to discern their intent, or on their authority when it comes to interpreting what they wrote or agreed to. Besides, the more widely-accepted taxonomy for the “Founding Fathers” is one that includes the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, a taxonomy to which our own National Archives subscribes.
And irrespective of how narrow or broad one’s definition of “the Founding Fathers” is, the historical record is replete with compelling evidence that those men recognized and sought to protect an individual right to bear arms, as the Supreme Court reaffirmed most recently in Heller, and in so doing, serve as a check on the abuse of federal power.
So, when your readers hear things like Representative Connolly’s call for reinstatement of the scary-looking (er…assault) weapons ban, they can easily consult any number of fellow Virginian Founders to see how contrary to their intent such proposals are: Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee (Declaration signers); or George Mason and James Madison (Convention delegates).
Progressives rely heavily on emotional appeals and logical misdirection to advance their anti-gun agenda, counting on the public to have forgotten their history. Your readers should not fall for it.