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In Lawrence Swaim's letter of Feb. 27 in referencing the Second Amendment ("The double-edged sword"), he said "if you read it from the beginning, it specifies that guns should be under the authority of a 'well-regulated militia."

The Second Amendment actually says, "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." There is no mention of guns under the authority of any one.

The term "right of the people" is also used in the First and Fourth Amendment. Would he suggest that freedom of religion, press, speech, and assembly, to petition the government be regulated by the government or the right of the people to be secure in their, persons, houses, papers, etc. only when the government decides?

The term "right of the people" was used to provide those rights to the people of the country without government interference.

In 1990, Chief Justice William Rehnquist reviewed the phrase "the people" as used in the Constitution and defined it with the concurrence of four other Supreme Court Justices:

"While this textual exegesis [explanation] is by no means conclusive, it suggest that 'the people' protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom the rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments refers to a class of persons who are a part of a national community or who have otherwise developed a sufficient connection with this country to be considered a part of that community." That would be the ordinary citizens.

Although I can go in to a number of arguments for the Second Amendment, I would recommend that those people who want gun control, don't like the Second Amendment, or think the NRA is wrong, read the "Second Amendment Primer," by Les Adams (1996) published by Palladium Press. Mr. Adams also thought the NRA was wrong.

Lastly, Mr. Swaim, is it always necessary for you on the left to denigrate people you do not agree with? I dare say most NRA members are not running around in camouflage in paranoia. The NRA has had a number of politicians including Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and a numerous of other statesmen.

The most dangerous people are those who would take our rights away. Just ask the victims of communism or fascism. That would be about 85 million to 100 million, according to the "Black Book on Communism" by Martin Malia.

Harry Stover