Letter to the editor: Other amendments also give citizens important rights
The discussion about gun rights and mass murder focuses on the Second Amendment, but the Bill of Rights guarantees protections for all of us. The Ninth Amendment is of particular importance:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
The Ninth Amendment refers to the rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” George Mason, an author of the Constitution, described these unalienable rights as “the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
Do we actually possess these rights when we cannot send our children to school and expect them to return alive? Or go to a movie theatre and feel safe? Or a public concert? Or feel safe even in our own homes and in our yards?
There are active outdoor firing ranges within at least two towns in Addison County. Gunfire occurs within range of residences where families live and work and play. On nearby roads there is danger from stray rounds. There is the disturbance of gunfire shattering otherwise tranquil neighborhoods. People have settled in our county to live in quiet peace, but instead some find themselves in a fire zone. How are they to enjoy life, liberty, happiness and safety, and protect their property values?
The Second Amendment cannot eclipse our other natural, God-given rights. We must insist on our Constitutional rights to life, liberty, peace and safety.
Millard M. Cox
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