The right of ordinary citizens
To the editor:
Recently John C. Bierk of Cape Girardeau took the U.S. Supreme Court to task for granting us all (with restrictions) the right to keep and bear arms instead of limiting that right to a militia. My dictionary shows its first definition of "militia" as "an army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers." So who in our Founding Fathers' day would make up that army? It would be anyone not too young, too old or too disabled to serve in a militia. What that not be the same today?
Any of us should be able to answer a call to duty should conditions be such that we needed to defend ourselves from a government seeking to deprive us of our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is all that our government is empowered to do, other than protect our coin and borders, in the first place. Are we not, then, those who would make up a needed militia? Are we not the ordinary citizens who have a right to keep and bear arms?
LARRY BRADEN, Sikeston, Mo.