The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution creates the right to “keep and bear arms.” When it was ratified, state-of-the-art firearms were muzzle loading-flintlocks. A skilled marksman could get off about one shot per minute. He could be disarmed in the time it took him to reload if he was killing his friends and neighbors.

The amendment was included at the insistence of states whose delegates wanted to preserve the right of rebellion and separation from the fledgling republic. The Civil War negated the idea that Americans should have that right. The Second Amendment should have been repealed after that war, at the same time that the Constitution was amended to end slavery.

It’s clear that we humans can’t reliably manage free access to modern, rapid-fire, high-powered weapons in an unstructured civilian society. Most people can manage themselves, but some can’t.

We’re unlikely to do what would be required to find the scattered males with potential to kill lots of people. They may be angry or depressed or seeking fame, but few meet criteria for chronic, severe mental illness.

I have several guns, and I use them on the farm more often than I’d like. I don’t need the sort of weapons designed for battlefield use, and neither do other civilians. It’s time to repeal the Second, or “Murder” Amendment, and adopt reasonable gun laws and regulations.

Wayne Myers