Founders feared standing armies
In his October 20 letter (“We need our guns,”) Mr. Shel Haas omitted from his defense of gun rights an important fact concerning the origins of the Second Amendment.
He neglected to mention that what actuated the Founding Fathers was their morbid fear of standing armies, which they believed would be tempted while idle during times of peace to concoct mischievous ways to interfere with sound governance. The Founders intended to avert this danger by relying on an armed citizenry who, like the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord, would store their muskets over the fireplace until danger called them forth. Hence, the prominent reference to militias at the beginning of the amendment.
Thus, Mr. Haas’ assertion that the amendment was intended to allow citizens to protect their homes and hearths from intruders and enemies both foreign and domestic is incorrect. Rather, it was the government which was the intended beneficiary of the law, granting it protection against an ascendant military.
Mr. Haas might benefit from engaging in some remedial reading on this subject by exploring the unanimous opinion of the U.S Supreme Court in U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), in which this history is extensively delineated.
What about BDS, Mr. Murphy?
In urging that we all stand up against anti-Semitism (“It’s Time to Urgently Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism in All Forms,” Oct. 20), Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy lost an important opportunity to speak out against a current, serious manifestation of the problem: the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
BDS is based on demonizing lies about Israel, including the absurd claim that Israel is an apartheid state. The movement unfairly blames Israel alone for the lack of peace, without acknowledging the Palestinian Arab terrorism that Israelis endure and the Palestinians’ repeated rejection of a state.
Mr. Murphy’s forceful declarations against BDS were essential, given that his running mate, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, was one of only three lawmakers to vote against a state anti-BDS bill in 2016. The bipartisan bill, which overwhelmingly passed and became law, prohibits the state’s pension funds from investing in any company that participates in the BDS campaign against Israel.
Mr. Murphy should have made three points: first, that BDS is anti-Semitic; second, that he disagrees with his running mate’s vote on the New Jersey bill; and finally, that if he is elected, he and his administration will vigorously enforce the anti-BDS law and work to strengthen New Jersey’s already strong ties with Israel.
Ms. Tuchman is the director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Center for Law and Justice.