Published in Suburban Trends, Dec. 16, 2015

In your December 9, "Our View" editorial ("Our Take On Guns"), you state that you desire a discussion and debate on what the Second Amendment means.

I'm going to surprise you and your readers by saying the Second Amendment does not give you the right to own a firearm; in fact the entire Bill of Rights gives no rights whatsoever! If there was no Constitution and Bill of Rights, you would still have all the rights you possess by virtue of the fact that you exist as an individual human being.

Our individual liberties come from our humanity, as so eloquently stated by Judge Andrew Napolitano. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights only guarantee and protect those rights from government infringement; the don't grant them.

Even many pro-Second Amendment people fall into the trap of thinking that the Bill of Rights gives us liberty. What they didn't realize is that what a government "gives" or "grants" it may also take away.

So debating what the Second Amendment may mean or not mean is missing the point. All people as individuals have a right to defend themselves against force, regardless if that force comes from an individual criminal or a government.

This brings me to my next point, the greatest mass shootings in history haven't occurred at the hands of deranged people or "Islamic terrorists" (the latest media induced "boogeyman") but rather at the hands of government.

If you think I'm only referencing foreign dictatorships of the past, this would be in error. Two of the greatest mass shootings in American history happened in the 19th century. On Nov. 29, 1864, Major John Chivington of the Colorado Territorial Militia and his troops killed 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians (mostly old men, women, and children) at Sand Creek Colorado Territory.

Later on Dec. 29 1890, the Seventh Cavalry killed over 200 Lakota Sioux (again mostly the elderly, plus women and children) at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. The guns used were issued by government to its agents (the military) not private firearms purchased at a gun show, nor to the best of my knowledge were any of the cavalry troopers or their officer followers of Islam!

We Libertarians have often stated (and it bears repeating!) "fear any government that fears and armed citizenry." Second Amendment or no Second Amendment, stand up for your rights.

Mark Richards
West Milford