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Gun laws a poor indictment of society in USA

I am a retired lawyer and have frequently reflected upon the US Supreme Court's interpretation of the constitutional right to bear arms (Write Back, January 5).

At the time that the constitution was drawn up, the only firearms which a person could bear were muzzle-loaded pistols and muskets. It follows that this is what the founding fathers meant, because there was nothing else that they could mean.

I like to think that if they had realised modern weaponry lay not far in the future, there would have been a fairly tight definition of the arms which people could bear.

To extend the right to bear arms to automatic pistols is something I have never understood.

I can only suppose that the justices of the Supreme Court have been put under intense pressure by American commercial and political interests.

It is a dreadful indictment of American society that, as revealed by last week's fatal shooting in Idaho, a young mother thinks she has to keep a loaded pistol in her handbag when going to the shops.

D DEAN

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