Twenty young children shot to death. Six adults killed. Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn.
By now, everyone in the world who watches at least one television news program or reads a newspaper knows the details. Those who search deeper than the headlines also realize that the nation has reawakened to the reality of the mass slayings made possible by assault weapons. Now, say a large number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, it is time to undertake a national dialogue regarding guns in America.
However, the most pressing business facing Congress at this time is the “fiscal cliff.” If that problem is solved before Christmas, Congress will go on vacation. If it’s not, Congress will have to stay in session and deal with the consequences. In any case, by the time our lawmakers get around to the issue of guns — particularly assault weapons — the passion of the moment will have lessened, and our representatives will have to face the reality of the Second Amendment.
At the end of the eighteenth century, James Madison pointed out that the Second Continental Congress did a good job of protecting the states in the Constitution, but the document did not address the rights of the people. This oversight lead to the adoption of the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights...