LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

An individual right to keep, bear arms

It appears that some law professors are even more adept at twisting the Constitution than the pro-gun scholars Kenneth Lasson takes to task ("Pro-gun scholars twist Constitution," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 21).

The key phrase of the Second Amendment concerns "the right of the people" to bear arms.

By concluding that "of the people" refers to a collective right, Mr. Lasson undercuts other constitutional rights reserved to the individual.

Should our First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights, and the right to elect representatives and senators (each of which are granted specifically to "the people"), also be construed as collective rather than individual rights?

Mr. Lasson also blatantly disregards the clear intentions of those who debated, wrote and enacted the Second Amendment. For instance:

Thomas Jefferson: "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."

Samuel Adams: "The Constitution shall never be construed ... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."

Alexander Hamilton: "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."

We can debate whether the right to bear arms has outlived its usefulness.

But until that debate happens and the Second Amendment is repealed, it is the law of the land.

Scott Medvetz

Sparks

Gun rights critic also has ties to funders

I am rather disappointed by the manner in which The Sun presented Kenneth Lasson's anti-gun column "Pro-gun scholars twist Constitution" (Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 21).

While Mr. Lasson is entitled to his views on gun policy, he is not entitled to hide or ignore certain facts.

While Mr. Lasson attacked the National Rifle Association for funding scholarship in the area of guns, Mr. Lasson failed to mention his own similar scholarly connections to certain pro-gun-control groups.

Mr. Lasson is listed as an expert by an organization called the Second Amendment Research Center, which is funded by the Joyce Foundation.

The Joyce Foundation is notorious for funding controversial scholarship by prominent anti-gun groups, such as Handgun-Free America and the Violence Policy Center.

Again, Mr. Lasson is entitled to his opinion; however, it is intellectually dishonest for him to hide his biased affiliations in the process.

Brian Griffiths

Pasadena

No intent to protect modern weaponry

I read with pleasure the column "Pro-gun scholars twist Constitution" (Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 21) by Kenneth Lasson and the companion piece "High court should unholster the 2nd Amendment" (Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 21). I believe that we must have restrictions on the possession of guns.

The framers of the Constitution did not dream that the Second Amendment would be applied to devices such as AK-47s or concealable handguns.

I have long noted that the pro-gun-rights arguments rely on the "original intent" of the framers. I believe that what the framers had in mind was that every able-bodied man should have a musket, a powder horn and a bag of bullets hanging over his mantle.

Those citizens might also have been expected to drill on the village green once a month.

The intent was to allow for a citizen militia to protect villages (and the several states).

David Fischel

Columbia

Don't know where tax money will go

I would be happy to tell the writer of the letter "Ways to withstand modest tax hikes" (Nov. 25) where to cut the state budget if I knew what the budget was. But there is still no new state budget.

This tax hike is nothing but an attempt by state leaders to see what they can get now that Democrats are in total control of the State House.

It's the largest tax increase in history and we don't know what it's for.

Is it to give people who earn $60,000 a year free health insurance? Is it to continue to supply illegal aliens with driver's licenses?

Is it for a failed school system? Or maybe it's to bail out Baltimore again? Or to buy more land for more than it's worth?

What people are angry about is what this money grab will be spent on.

R. W. Schotta

New Windsor

Contract will deter talented teachers

The Sun's article "City teachers OK 2-year contract; deal includes 4.5% raise this year" (Nov. 21) asserts that teachers "overwhelmingly" approved a two-year contract.

Fewer than 600 teachers and paraprofessionals (less than 10 percent of the 7,200 eligible staff members in the city school system) participated in the vote, and less than 7 percent of the staff members actually voted for the contract.

After months of debate between the union and the school board, teachers and paraprofessionals were given approximately five days' notice - and very incomplete information - before the vote.

The union billed the vote as a simple question of "Do you want a raise?" when in fact the contract included significant changes in our health care benefits as well.

This vote may signify a short-term victory for the school board, but it was a long-term defeat for teachers and, more important, for city students and their families.

Who will enter a profession that is poorly paid, has mediocre benefits and is incredibly demanding?

Not the kinds of talented teachers the city desperately needs to recruit - and retain - to educate our students.

Liz Simon-Higgs

Baltimore

The writer teaches at Moravia Park Elementary School.

Shortsighted sacking of a worthy pastor

I'm a committed Catholic with an advanced degree in sacred Scripture, and the controversy over the firing of the Rev. Ray Martin leaves me wondering what Gospel they are reading at the Archdiocese of Baltimore ("Church's 'scandal' is others' kindness," Nov. 18).

I find it difficult to credit church authorities with good faith when they advance reasons such as dogs in the sanctuary as cause for separating a pastor from his congregation.

If one scratches beneath the surface, the leadership's apparent panic over the role of the Rev. Annette Chappell in a funeral service looks more like misogyny than a desire to shield the Eucharistic sacrament from unbelievers.

The inflation of church regulations to make it appear that Father Martin violated something of substance in the faith is shortsighted and arrogant.

The archdiocese's decision to fire Father Martin and take his leadership away from his parish will sow resentment and discontent in the community and distract the faithful from their sacred mission.

Michael Marco

Baltimore

A lovely tribute to autumn's 'exeunt'

This is a note of thanks to the writer of the editorial "Exeunt" (Nov. 25).

It was what I would have written if I could write that way.

Bonnie Lee

Parkville

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