Robert Bates, in his letter “Guns protect us from government” (Dec 11), claims “anyone with even a basic understanding of history” knows the Second Amendment was enacted to protect us from an oppressive government.
Apparently, Mr. Bates failed history. The opening sentence of the amendment is “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…” That partial sentence has been left out of the current debate. The amendment was not intended to protect citizens from an oppressive government.
The Continental Army relied on militias to supplement forces in various battles against the British. Those militias were to be under the authority of the commander-in-chief during national emergencies that required the need to raise forces.
The Tea Party/John Birch nexus has twisted the meaning to be interpreted as citizens defending themselves against their own duly-elected government, which is also a constitutional mandate.
This is a perfect illustration of the revisionist doctrine which vilifies the greatest government on the planet, which many have died for, in order to propagate the mythology of people owning guns and packing them everywhere being “rugged individualists” and patriots. They are neither.
Timothy McKeever, Fresno