by Theodore Fuller
Most people recognize that our rights are not absolute. The First Amendment says we have the right to free speech, and yet we know that we cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater (unless there is actually a fire). Similarly, our right to free speech is limited by laws against slander and libel.
In the same way, our right to bear arms is not absolute. We have to balance the right to bear arms against other rights, such as the right not to fear that first-graders might be shot to death in their schoolrooms or that we might be shot to death in a movie theater.
Fuller lives in Blacksburg and is a professor of sociology at Virginia Tech.