Understanding the Constitutional Implications of the Gun Control Debate - The Jewish Voice
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Monday, July 4, 2022

Understanding the Constitutional Implications of the Gun Control Debate

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Governer Andrew Cuomo.
Governer Andrew Cuomo.
Since the horrifying and profoundly tragic shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead, our nation finds itself in an seemingly endless imbroglio over the matter of gun control.

Many elected officials have weighed in on the emotionally charged issue and Vice President Biden has been delegated with the task of examining modalities to reduce gun violence.

Last week, in his State of the State address, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s voice reached a crescendo when he addressed the issue of gun control by saying, “It’s simple, no one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer and too many innocent people have died already. End the madness, now!”

As the owner of a Remington shotgun himself, Governor Cuomo understands that “gun control” doesn’t mean confiscating legally purchased and registered handguns from home and business owners or extricating guns from hunters or sportsmen. He understands that anyone owning an assault weapon with an extended magazine is not doing so in the name of self defense or to mount a deer’s head on their wall.

Gun rights advocates rush to extol the second amendment of the constitution which guarantees their ability to legally possess firearms. Passed in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights, the words of our founding fathers read: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” For over 100 years, the Supreme Court understood that the words “well regulated militia” narrowed its scope significantly. In 2008, however, in case of the District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D. C., stating that the Second Amendment applies to both militias and individuals and the ruling established one’s right to keep a handgun at home for self-defense.

What the Governor of New York is saying is that he respects the court’s decision, but this ruling in no way endorses the toting around of a weapon that was designed for military purposes. Because the safety and well being of the people of New York is our highest priority, we applaud Mr. Cuomo’s intrepid posture and we laud the state legislature for expediting enactment of the toughest gun laws in the country.

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