Discerning Second Amendment's meaning

"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." Twenty-seven words in the Constitution that define not just an individual's rights but the "state's" rights regarding firearms.

1) They are in the Federal constitution, therefore it is the Federal government's job to define and enforce what is meant by these 27 words.

2) This right was required because these arms are an instrumental part of a "well regulated militia" -- nothing more, nothing less.

3) To me, any arms that are used other than the intended use inside a "well regulated militia" (e.g. privately owned guns) are subject to other federal, state and local laws that may permit or restrain their use.

4) That use should not conflict with the Declaration of Independence, which claims "certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

A reasonable fear of being gunned down in public robs us of these rights. Arming ourselves so we can wage war in the streets does not regain those rights.

Steve Cohn

Orinda

Remembering Remembrance Day

I was in London this fall and had a wonderful time. One unexpected pleasure was seeing so many people wearing colorful red paper poppies. I found out very quickly that the poppies were to commemorate Remembrance Day, a holiday that honors veterans.

I witnessed the importance of this holiday by appeals for donations and, more important, the acknowledgment of the sacrifices of their veterans. This contrasts sharply with my experience of Veterans Day or Memorial Day in the United States. These holidays are often thought of in terms of a three-day weekend.

I do see veterans outside of local markets handing out poppies, but people often rush by with uninterest and I rarely see the poppies being worn. I plan to do more in the future than display our flag by planting some red poppies in my yard and at a nearby school garden. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see local officials, teachers, firefighters, children, moms and dads all proudly wearing red poppies to honor and remember our veterans?

Linda Campopiano

Walnut Creek