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Former Mayor: Politician Rhetoric on Gun Use Insults Responsible Gun Owners

Sebastian Giuliano says the Second Amendment acknowledges a pre-existing right of citizens to keep and bear arms.

 

Middletown Patch Editor's note: Former Republican Mayor of Middletown Sebastian Giuliano wrote this piece which appeared Jan. 28 in the Middletown Insider.

To the Editor:

The Second Amendment is not limited to guns. It states that ... the right of the people to keep and bear ARMS shall not be infringed." This includes any kind of "arms" — guns, knives, spears, swords, battle axes, maces and, when they are invented, phasers and lightsabres.

The Second Amendment did not "create" or confer any rights. It acknowledged a pre-existing right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms. 

Let me ask a simple question: What existed first, individuals with weapons, or armies (militias, if you prefer)? The answer is obvious. Armies were formed from armed individuals banding together (that's basically the definition of "militia").

Let me ask another question: At what point in human history was the inherent right of the individual to arm him/herself subsumed into the power of the state to raise an army? I cannot find any instance wherein free people made such a covenant or compact; I can only conclude that such rights, where they no longer exist, have been tyrannically usurped.

The individual has the inherent (for those of you who don't recognize the term "God-given") right to arm him/herself with weapons equivalent to those with which he/she might be threatened. For those who say that the Second Amendment only extends to muskets, blunderbusses and Kentucky rifles, I respond that those weapons represented the "state-of-the-art" at the time; the framers of the Constitution clearly did not intend for the minions of the government to have such a deadly advantage over the citizens.

As much as I can recognize the damage that one individual bent on destruction can wreak with a firearm, I can't justify limiting the rights of the entire citizenry as an acceptable remedy. For every firearm used improperly, there are countless, just like it, that are not and never will be. To attempt to paint millions of responsible citizens with the same broad brush and, thereby, limit their rights is something I will never accept and to which I will never accede.

I, frankly, decline to admit or deny that I may own a firearm. It's nobody's business. But I do have a bit of a military background and I have been trained to handle some pretty scary stuff. I can tell you, without reservation, that all responsible gun owners and people who have ever fired a gun sincerely hope (and pray) that they will NEVER have to fire it at another human being; no person with a soul or conscience or thought or feeling would ever wish to be in that position.

But they also don't want to be defenseless in the face of an attack upon themselves. For elected officials, who have sworn to preserve and protect the rights of each and every individual citizen, to be telling such citizens, of whose individual circumstances they are completely ignorant, what and how much they "need" is not only violative of their sworn duty, it is condescending, arrogant, contemptuous and downright insulting.

I, for one, can never — and will never — support any political figure who demonstrates such an attitude, be it by his/her words or conduct.

-- Sebastian Giuliano, Former Mayor of Middletown

John Lasarte February 03, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Your argument, like that of most gun enthusiasts, is fundamentally flawed. I am greatly disappointed you based it on a sliver of the the actual Second Amendment, The actual amendment reads ' A well-regulated militia, for the safety and security of the land, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed'. As the army back in those times was a citizens militia, then the dependent clause made sense. Today we have a national guard, an armed section of the citizenry, so your quote is no longer valid as it read in its original context. It is a shame when a former public servant is so poorly versed in our history. Instead of taking a 'soundbite' and running with it, do some actual research. Why is it so easy to get 'right to keep and bear arms' but the whole context of something being 'well-regulated' sends gun rights advocates into a frenzy? If the US Government is such a despised insititution is some circles, then why make be among the first ones to grab and point to a line from the very paper it was founded upon? In closing, if we are so keen to misinterpret and base all arguments from that misinterpretation, than why even have a Constitution in the first place? What the Second needs is to be amended, to be updated to reflect our present reality - but I would hope it would begin "Any persons of sound mind..."
seth crampton February 03, 2013 at 04:58 PM
"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." If your going to try to use the second amendment to debunk someones opinion it would help if you had the right text.
Sean Campbell February 03, 2013 at 05:02 PM
So James, by your logic, since we now have the army and the national guard, we no longer need to posses tools to defend ourselves from those who wish to do us harm? Because the national guard protect us in the street right... oh, you mean because the army is with us at all times... oh, because the police can be everywhere at once... So, how about you ask the Jews how being unarmed in Germany really helped them in long run when there government decided they needed to be removed. Oh wait, I'm sure my thinking is flawed too.
Sean Campbell February 03, 2013 at 05:04 PM
And my apologizes I ment John not James.
Jay February 03, 2013 at 06:02 PM
"A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies." ---George Washington First Annual Message to Congress (January 8, 1790) Note George was there and understood that citizens needed to be able to defend themselves from indians, British,French and criminals but also from corrupted governments. It also needs to be pointed out that they never considered guns to be evil. The men that wrote the Constitution were very conscious of recent event - the recent French Revolution and Cromwellian revolution. Experience taught them not to trust a standing army. The proof they were right is demonstated in the last hundred years of corrupted standing armies - recent examples are Syria and Egypt..
Laurie Rogers February 03, 2013 at 06:12 PM
"The individual has the inherent (for those of you who don't recognize the term "God-given") right to arm him/herself with weapons equivalent to those with which he/she might be threatened" No, The individual has an inherent (God given or absolute right) to DEFEND oneself, HOW that individual defends him/herself is a man given or Constitutional right. The Bible does NOT say that we may use "arms" to defend ourselves. The constitution is a set of laws written by man therefore they can be amended or regulated as the law sees fit.
Jim Braun February 03, 2013 at 06:48 PM
How is what is stated in the first paragraph of this opinion piece even remotely close to reality? Wouldn't an RPG be "arms"? What about a grenade? Can an average Joe even buy a Taser? Aren't certain knives illegal? What about martial arts weapons? I scratch my head whenever someone thinks "minions of the government" do not currently have a "deadly advantage over the citizens", unless a good number of us citizens have a tank or two in our garages.
Arthur Mazeau February 03, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Finally, I hear from a responsible and sensible politician, former or otherwise, that is not afraid to admit that individuals have a right from birth to arm themselves with whatever means required to protect themselves. This is one of the few that seems to understand my point of view, that it is not even about guns, it is about the basic right we are all born with to use any means required to fend off threats.
Steve February 03, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Actually, there are quite a few people who own tanks, its not illegal. Seriously though, your argument is the typical overreach by the anti-gun rights crowd. The people at large make up the unorganized militia which should have the ability to train with the basic arms used by the military. The AR15 is an excellent substitute for the military's M16 & M4 as it operates very similarly without the fully automatic option. Tasers are legal for civilians to own in most states & there are some foolish knife laws as well. I say foolish because bans on switchblades date from people being scared by 'West Side Story' not because they are somehow more dangerous than other knives. Most knife laws haven't been adjudicated by the high courts. If you wish to point to a court case or legislation where some gun rights people are asking for the ability to own anti-personnel mines or mortars, I'd like to see it.
Steve February 03, 2013 at 11:59 PM
John, It is your understanding that is flawed. I suggest you look up the Militia Act. It was originally passed in 1792 & has been updated many times since then. The militia is divided into two parts (3 in CT), the organized militia which is the National Guard & the unorganized militia which is the body of the people at large. 2nd, your understanding of the 'well regulated' is based upon modern usage not that in use at that time. Check here: http://www.constitution.org/cons/wellregu.htm
drew February 04, 2013 at 12:59 AM
John by your logic. I can expect the military to mow my lawn and plow my driveway because they have lawnmowers and plow trucks... if the military can do it I don't need to right?
Jim Braun February 04, 2013 at 12:59 AM
The only issue I have with your response is I am far from a member of the anti-gun crowd. I read the article and as a neutral party, I take issue with the writer's first paragraph. Also, my perception is the line in the sand as currently drawn is arbitrary, hence my tank, rpg, and grenade comments. What is the reason for the limitations as they currently stand? Why isn't an M16 legal right now for a civilian to buy and own? Simply because the arbitrary line in the sand is where it is right now. The anti-gun crowd wants to move the line, and the gun crowd wants to keep it where it is. Why is that? Why not try to move it in the other direction? That's the part I have never heard someone address. The writer makes it sound as if any and every armament is ownable, but clearly it isn't, hence an arbitrary line in the sand that already limits the Second Amendment. Again, I am not in the anti-gun crowd.
Steve February 04, 2013 at 02:28 AM
@Jim, I agree with you that the line is somewhat arbitrary. I think its mainly due to the nature of politics & politicians that are ignorant of what they're legislating. I have read some rationalization that the line should be drawn around what an ordinary, individual soldier would carry. While grenades, RPGs, etc. are used individually, their explosive nature puts them in a somewhat different category. I will say that the use of explosives was little regulated for many years & people could buy dynamite at the local hardware store to blow up stumps until at least the 1940's. I personally wouldn't mind pushing back the other way & eliminate the Hughes amendment to the '86 FOPA which closed the automatic firearms registration. To the best of my research, there have only been 1 or 2 legally owned full autos that have been used in the commission of a crime. However, so many people have little understanding of firearms & believe what they see in the movies & on TV. Its unlikely that something that drastic would change anytime soon. There have been quite a few pushbacks in recent years along the legal front. DC v Heller was a big one followed up by McDonald v Chicago. Recently another court case if forcing Illinois to pass a concealed carry law who was the last state holding out on having some type of carry law.
Mark February 04, 2013 at 08:22 PM
The last thing we need are more gun laws. This will just be one more step in the march to strip us of our god given rights.

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