If I could rewrite the Second Amendment ...

Editor of the Reformer:

The Second Amendment is possibly the most controversial Amendment. Everybody has a different opinion about it. Some lean to the right, some to the left, and some a mix of both. How could one sentence cause such a disagreement between almost everyone in the United States? Would the Second Amendment being re-written help cause closure to all those in disagreement?

The vagueness of the Second Amendment begins with something as simple as a comma. In Madison’s original version of the Second Amendment it says, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military services in person."

In the original version, Madison included a semi-colon, separating the idea of people bearing arms and a well-armed militia. In the current version a comma is used. This makes the Amendment even harder to correctly interpret. Could our Founding Fathers have been talking about the people as the militia, or were they talking about the people on their own?

In addition to this, more than 200 years ago, a gun was necessary. Today, we don’t need to fend off Native Americans or the British, and access to animal meat is easier than ever. Now all a gun is needed for is a sense of security and cultural reasons. What it comes down to is that for today’s world, a world our founding fathers could have never envisioned, the Second Amendment needs to be re-written in order to prevent unimaginable tragedies.

If the Second Amendment was re-written though, it would incredibly hard. There would be protests from pro-gun activists and protests from pro-gun control activists. Basically, there is no way to re-write the amendment without a certain group being angered. But if I were to re-write the Second Amendment, it would be a very left-wing view. I was raised without guns, so I find no entertainment in them, and I find that they only hurt people (besides the select people who use guns for strict cultural reasons). I believe that only certain models shall be given to certain people and that the government should mainly obtain firearms. So, my new and improved (in my view) Amendment is as follows: "The right to bear arms shall be given to all branches of the United States Military, police forces of the United States, and other select government security agencies. Under strict background checks, civilians may apply for select firearm models, excluding assault rifles, handguns, and lengthened magazines. These weapons shall be obtained for the uses of protection, and legally hunting animals and target shooting in select legal zones. This Amendment shall be subject to change."

This new Amendment would, in my opinion, prevent countless deaths by firearms. I remember coming home from school on a chilly December day and turning on my TV for some cartoons. My TV was still on the news channel from the morning, and a bright red banner crossed the bottom of the screen. I was witnessing Sandy Hook live. I’ll never forget that day. It is branded onto my brain, and it highlights my hatred for guns and gun violence.

In my new Second Amendment, I firstly included that the government has automatic control and use of guns, the way I see it should be. Some say our government will turn on us, so we need guns, but if you actually think, we are the government. It’s "we the people" in the military and police forces, and "we the people" making the laws and running the country. Because of this, it’s not a valid argument that we need guns to protect us from our government. I also included that if a civilian wanted a gun they would need to apply under strict background checks. Our government needs to take the time to make sure the people purchasing guns are OK to buy guns. Because of incidents while hunting and target shooting, I included that select legal zones shall be given for both sports. While times change, circumstances will change, so I included the Amendment will be subject to change. Personally, I believe that for today’s world, my Amendment would make such a difference. Our Founding Fathers could have never seen what their lack of information in the Second Amendment would encompass, so having the Second Amendment re-written is basically the only way to end the war on proper gun ownership in today’s world, even if ending the war means "dropping a nuclear bomb."

Lars Andrews,

7th Grader, Halifax, June 17

Support Balint
for state Senate

Editor of the Reformer:

I will be delighted to vote for Becca Balint for Vermont Senate this fall. As a former colleague, I know that Becca is curious, hardworking, and hard listening. In those days her enthusiastic, articulate delivery of curriculum and her ability to listen and ask the right questions made her a popular while demanding social studies teacher.

Because Becca writes a weekly column for this paper, her perspective on important issues and her sense of humor are already well-known to many in southern Vermont and beyond. Her font of knowledge is broad and deep, and she is willing to really dig to research an issue with which she is not familiar. She will not hedge her bets for the sake of political gain. It’s not in her character. I know that she will listen carefully to constituents from many walks of life, think creatively and compassionately, and work to craft solutions that are fair and far-reaching. She will give constituents the attention they deserve in Montpelier.

Nancy Detra,

Brattleboro, June 18

Foolish walker?

Editor of the Reformer:

This is an open letter to the fool I passed this morning as she was walking down Maple Street around 6 a.m.

I call you a fool advisedly, because what you have been doing (I saw you twice) is one of the most foolish things anyone could do. Rather than use the sidewalk the town has provided on Maple Street, you have chosen to walk on the street. OK that’s fine, but why do you insist on walking on the right side of the road where you may not see a vehicle coming up from behind? This could be particularly dangerous when you get to the place where Maple turns south. People fly around that corner on a regular basis. If you should be in that curve, you run a significant risk of being hurt and possibly killed.

Now, you may not think much of your own life, but imagine the poor soul who, one day, does hit you. He or she will have to live with that the rest of their lives trying to forget a horrible accident that was not their fault. That’s just not right.

Bob Fagelson,

Brattleboro, June 19