top of page

Letters: Scalia’s support of gun control

One hundred and twenty Americans are shot and killed every day.

More than 200 a day are wounded by gunfire.

Many victims are children, especially in mass murders.

Five minutes doesn’t go by without an American being shot with a gun.

Conservatives predictably put their gun rights ahead of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as if those rights conflict. They do not.

The late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment, uniquely expanded the individual right to bear arms in 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller ) by disconnecting the right to bear arms from the 2nd Amendment language tied to state militias. I disagreed then. I still do.

But it is what he then said about the future of the right to bear arms that was prescient. He pointed out the obvious: gun violence is serious. He also said that the Constitution leaves government with a variety of tools, including laws regulating guns, to combat the problem.

He stated that laws imposing conditions and qualifications for the commercial sale of arms are “presumptively lawful.” Background checks are legal. Bans on carrying weapons in sensitive places, such as schools, are permissible to protect the public health. Scalia generally approved of our history of banning the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.” He said we are justified in keeping firearms away from felons and the mentally ill. Red-flag laws serve the public interest. Closing loopholes on firearm sales is lawful.

The 2nd Amendment discussion is less about constitutional law and more about political backbone. Or the lack thereof. It’s a political debate with the writings of conservative Associate Justice Scalia trending towards Democratic proposals now pending in Congress.

As the parents of too many mass-murdered children bury their dead, too many conservatives refuse to bury their ignorance and lies. And they are complacent in the death of thousands of Americans.

Am I too harsh? No! Harsh is hiding behind a 2nd Amendment that conservative icon, Anton Scalia, has said does not support their simple-minded bumper sticker mentality. Harsh is American parents repeatedly having to “stack ‘em and rack “em” after another mass murder by a troubled young man with a legally obtained assault rifle. Harsh is reality.

Harsh is reality coupled with the knowledge that many of these kills can be prevented. We just need conservatives to put American lives ahead of their political paper tigers.

— Charles Wieland,



bottom of page