The Right to Bear Arms

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Wed, 01/16/2013 - 10:38pm -- Bradley

Welcome back children, its Bradley coming to you live from the Capitol! It is Wednesday January 16th the fifth day of our stay in Washington. Today was the first day we got the privilege to experience Metro delays. We left at the normal time in hopes of being able to sit on the edge of the seats at the auditorium so there was a better chance of getting to ask a question, however upon arrival at the Metro station I realized that there was going to be a problem. The platform for the metro we needed to take was packed, I checked a metro app on my phone and got the news, 30-40 minute delays on the redline. We arrived several minutes late and in the middle of our first speaker for the day, luckily the Washington Center was expecting the students from the Solaire to be late. The speaker was the Manager of Alumni Relations, Kinnari Sejipal. She was in the end of her presentation but from what I could gather she was talking about staying in touch with faculty and other students from The Washington Center and that will pay off for you. Doctor Baker gave a brief introduction and introduced our second speaker the founder of C-Span, Brian Lamb. Mr. Lamb talked briefly then gave us a list of topics of what he would speak about and held a vote, the victor was Gun Control. Lamb didn’t really spend much time talking the only things he really detailed was the gun control legislation passed in New York yesterday, from here he gave the floor to the students and he moderated an open debate about gun legislation. The last speaker of the day was Rodell Mollineau the President of American Bridge 21st Century. American Bridge 21st Century is a Democratic Super PAC that raises considerable money for Democratic candidates and digs up dirt on their opposition.

The sight visit for today was at the Capitol Building. We had a group tour scheduled for 3:10 pm and we held our group meeting at 2:30. The group meeting was based around a scavenger hunt show and tell presentation, before our meeting we went to see our representative and we were supposed to bring back something to show and tell. Most of us went to Senator Joe Manchin’s office, unfortunately he wasn’t there but we got invited to a coffee meeting at his office on Monday morning and received the contact information for him and several of his staff. The contact information was especially beneficial because it presented another avenue for after school pathways into the political field.

I felt especially heated on the issue of gun control in today’s morning session. It was appropriate for today after the passed legislation in New York and also because President Obama issued 21 executive orders today. I am a hunter, a responsible gun user, and I come from a family where everyone is responsible and is safe with their guns; however I have a firm stand for gun regulation legislation. First of all I almost believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution is referring specifically to the operation of a militia. The amendment reads, “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.” The second half of the amendment from the word State on, is very clear by if it is by itself, this phrase by itself is very concise in its interpretation, however when the first part of the amendment is added into the discussion that the second half becomes a little less concise. The first half of the amendment is in strict regards to the militia and I’m not sure in my interpretation that there is no clear distinction between the separation of the militia and that of an ordinary citizen. With that being said the militia is comprised of ordinary citizens who “keep and bear arms” however the operation of the militia is no longer in the hands of the ordinary citizen but falls into realm of National Guards which are government run institutions. The times of untrained citizens forming militias to aid in military incursions and standing up against a tyrannical government are gone. A citizen untrained in battle in today’s battlefield against a standing army in support of another country invading our own or in support of our own government, would stand little chance even if they were organized and well supplied. However I believe where the second half of the amendment being dealt with as its own entity can be specifically and individually interpreted, but it is not, however it has become throughout the years a cultural unspoken amendment to the Constitution. The aspect that all people have the right to keep and bear arms has become imbedded into our culture and is something that can not be fully taken away nor do I think that it should. I have come to the conclusion that New York has mostly got this thing right. I want to interject first that any legislation passed will only hurt responsible gun owners. Now back to my previous thought, I believe that automatic weapons should come to a close, the sale of weapons over the internet needs to be stopped, state and national databases should be created to track gun and bullet sales and ownership, reduction of magazine sizes, yearly psychiatric evaluations should be required by people wanting to own guns, gun ownership, defense, hunting, and safety course should be requirements for gun ownership and gun owners should have to re attend these course that will have to be issued by police, military, or DNR officials, every four years. I don’t have all the answers, I’m not a legislature of any kind, nor do I claim to be but I think these are important legislation requirements that should be taken seriously and brought thoughtfully to any congressional floor.

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My name is Bradley Reed, I'm a senior majoring in political science and minoring in national security and intelligence. I'm also a contributing author for The Nolton. I'm from Berkeley Springs, West Virginia but my current hometown is Teays Valley, West Virginia.