I grew up in the rural American West. I got my first hand-me-down bolt-action .22 rifle at age 10 from my father. He didn’t any more idolize guns than I or my friends did. But I did shoot the odd rabbit and fictional Soviet invader in the form of a ponderosa every now and again. And I had a lot of fun doing it.
In the 1960s, guns were as much part of the landscape as snow shovels and chainsaws – but they were never framed as a “God-given right.” We just had them and used them from time to time, like any tool or a sled.
Most people then seemed to understand that the Second Amendment, and the rest of the Constitution, was written by men guided not by religion, but by disciples of the enlightenment. Some were atheists.
Thomas Jefferson, a leading voice of the American enlightenment, was directed by principles of rational thought. God didn’t give or take rights. The Constitution was written on the principles of rationality, core human morality and framed by the rule of intelligent law wrapped in a republic. This defined our rights then as it does now.
Our founders would be the first to acknowledge that our rights and the Constitution change throughout time. Slavery was abolished and women were allowed to vote. What an accomplishment that our founding document moves with the times (albeit painfully).
It is time now for the next progression.
State Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, expressed concern for going to work in our state Capitol and says she feels safer sitting next to her armed colleagues in the Senate chamber.
Still, she blindly lauds the Second Amendment. Our elected representative’s concern with being shot as a servant of our democracy could not be a stronger indicator (except for the slaughter of our children) about why we need a shift in gun laws, gun enforcement and a broader look at the Second Amendment.