To the Editor:

Another school shooting.

The first 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States are the Bill of Rights, regulating a future government’s power over its citizens.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, the right to bear arms, was enacted as part of the Bill Of Rights, and was ratified on Dec. 15, 1791.

A too ambitious federal government with a standing army was equal in the minds of our founders to the tyrannical British Monarchy. Therefore, the Second Amendment: “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.”

The amendment’s key problem has been interpretation: “Individual rights” being the right for one to own, possess, to transport arms. “States’ rights” concerning the right for one to bear arms in connection with an organized state militia.

A ban on assault weapons was allowed to expire. A happy gun dealer said, “Now we can sell guns with flash suppressors, folding stocks, larger magazines, pistol-type grips, grenade launcher mounts, and a lug for bayonets.” Bayonets?

Here’s some information from an article I published three years ago:

“Center Of Disease Control: 32,163 gunshot deaths in America in 201l. A yearly average of 32,000. Yearly average for a more civilized Canada, is 1,300. In 2010: 73,505 Americans were treated for non-fatal gunshot wounds.

“In the Vietnam War, 58,000 American soldiers died, less than American civilians killed in an average two-year period. In the first seven years in Iraq, 4,400 soldiers were killed; almost as many American are killed with guns every seven weeks.

“In 2007, more preschool kids were shot to death than police officers. About eight kids are killed by guns every day in America. And background checks are resisted. Blame it on the mentally challenged and disturbed, but not the incredibly uncharted proliferation of guns in America.”

But returning to the Second Amendment...the signers had in mind the unwieldy single-shot muskets. Not being an expert, I may have gotten the sequence wrong: musket cartridges consisted of a lead ball wrapped in paper that had a twisted end containing the gunpowder.

The militia man pulled back the hammer to half-cock, tore open the paper with his teeth, poured the powder into the muzzle, inserted the ball, then shoved the paper as a form of wadding, tamping all of it down into the breech with the ramrod he had to draw from the musket.

I believe he also had to pour powder into a “pan” for the hammer to spark for firing. Having done all this, he aimed, pulled the trigger and hoped for the best because it often misfired. Oops, too bad. Pause in the midst of chaos; reload.

When overrun, a militiaman had to resort to bayonet, knife, hatchet or bare hands, in terrifying eye-to-eye combat. Not recommended for those preferring automatic weapons.

Note that the signers of the Second Amendment were not considering the possession and transport of automatic assault weapons using 30 round magazines without some regulation; would think it insane, criminal, perhaps suicidal, not to.

And in this light, it is simply fraudulent to make a direct unregulated-right-to-bear-arms equation between the 18th and 21st centuries. It is the ultimate scam. In the 1940s army I used a simple M1 rifle.

A simple fact: A shadow corporate government, including weapons manufacturers, which in its lack of empathy being entirely sociopathic, has bribed and terrified the craven congress we elected to represent us and our children.

The ongoing shooting to death of children is a dark stain on the American soul.

Martin Ryan

New Milford