John Canzanella: Rights are limited

January 10, 2013 

Rights are limited

The Supreme Court has issued opinions concerning the First Amendment, limiting freedom of speech and restricting freedom of the press.

A person does not have the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater. Newspapers do not have the right to publish shipping schedules during war since that information might be used by enemies to sink our ships.

If the First Amendment can be proscribed, why is the Second Amendment inviolable? Why can’t sensible limitations be imposed to protect the sanctity of life? Freedoms are not absolute. We don’t have the right to do whatever pleases us. Absolute freedom can lead to anarchy.

By limiting some of our rights, we maximize the rights of all. Unlike criminals who obey laws only to escape punishment, most citizens obey laws that are fair and reasonable. If our laws are just, we suffer no loss of freedom since we restrict our behavior voluntarily.

Why then is the argument made that there can be no restrictions on the right to bear arms when that right results in the murder of children? Why can’t sensible limits be placed on individual gun ownership when it benefits all of society? Where are the legislators who are representing the United States?

John Canzanella

Chapel Hill

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