Most informed Americans agree the purpose of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution was to protect citizens from the invasive powers of the federal government. The U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have ruled that states must also follow federal mandates.

It also is recognized by the courts that the provisions in the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments are individual rights and not collective rights. They apply to the individual and may not be transferred or given to another person.

Most people who favor little or no gun control in the United States argue for a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment. They follow in this instance a method to interpret the Constitution set forth by Thomas Jefferson, known as the “strict construction” doctrine. This method of interpretation says that if the issue is mentioned in the Constitution it may be done — if it is not mentioned, it may not be done.

Applying this doctrine to gun control creates a dilemma for those on the political right. It is not a stretch to compare this method of interpretation to the Fourth Amendment. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons ... shall not be violated ... ”

If the federal or state governments may not interfere with which guns I may possess (Second Amendment) how can the same interfere if I am a woman and want to have an abortion (Fourth Amendment)?

Could we have some hypocrites in our midst?

— Al Mettenburg,

Princeton