Right to self-defense not limited
While I support the conclusion of Robert Kraniak’s letter (“Right to keep and bear arms is most important amendment”), I would like to gently correct Mr. Kraniak’s assertion that my letter regarding Bill of Rights Day contained an “oversight in not mentioning the most important amendment” — the Second Amendment.
The Roundup has a 400-word limit for its letters; it was almost impossible to adequately address the importance of the whole of the Bill of Rights within this limit. Nonetheless, I did clearly cite the right to self-defense as one of the rights that the Bill of Rights protects; the only amendment that addresses this right is the Second Amendment — which, it should be noted — and this was clearly no accident — the Founders listed right after the First Amendment, and before any of the other amendments constituting the Bill of Rights.
In their writings, the Founders also repeatedly made it clear that the inalienable right to self-defense was not limited to the right of the individual to protect him or herself against attacks by individual criminals, but also for citizens to defend themselves against tyrannical government(s).
To further clarify my position, all of the Web sites I cited in my letter relating to the Bill of Rights are those of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO.org) — a tax exempt educational organization that has, for many years, been the most visible promoter of celebrating Bill of Rights Day around the country. One does not need to be Jewish to belong to JPFO — I have been a member for almost 19 years.
I have strong, personal reasons for supporting the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment: For 17 years, between 1960 and 1977, my family lived in Kingston, Jamaica. Around 1972, the Jamaican government declared martial law, and summarily confiscated all civilian-owned firearms and ammunition.
My description of living through this frightening experience, and the indelible lessons I learned from it about the importance of the Bill of Rights in general, and the Second Amendment in particular, were published by JPFO in 1998, and can be read on the organization’s Web site at: http://jpfo.org/ filegen-a-m/jamaica.htm
I hope Mr. Kraniak and others who support the Bill of Rights will consider joining and supporting JPFO.