WV House Candidates Calling for Tougher Gun Control

April 19, 2014

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By:  Rob Jones

“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” –  Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322

“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.” – Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169

I know that to many of the readers, this may seem as though I am beating a dead horse, but we the people cannot afford to let up the pressure. Not now, not ever! So I am writing again, of the importance of the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment states: “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.” I have read the Constitution. I have studied the Constitution. I have had several classes on the Constitution and its meaning. Am I an expert? Not by a long shot, but I have a very good general knowledge of the Constitution and what our founding fathers meant when they wrote it.

Many on the left will argue that the 2nd Amendment is there for “hunting”, they like to say that the 2nd Amendment is valid only for individuals in the military or its reserve components, or that the 2nd Amendment covers only “muskets”. Well, having a good knowledge of the Constitution, my answer to those three arguments are simple and I’ll debunk all three with a question. The 4th Amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Does that mean that the 4th Amendment covers only your personal effects which are stated, or does it also cover your computer, your cell phone, or whatever electronic devices you have? The 4th Amendment covers all of your belongings.

The Founding Fathers did not envision the technology of today, but they understood the value of being secure in your home, your person, and other effects, against wrongful search and seizure. The same can be said about the 2nd Amendment. The Founding Fathers may not have had the idea of todays weapons when they drafted the 2nd Amendment, but when you understand why it was written and why it was added, you see the importance of why it covers every firearm, from a musket to todays high tech semiauto firearms. The Founders understood that when they seperated from Great Britain and became the new United States of America, they would have to defend this nation. Part of defending our new nation fell into the hands of every able bodied American citizen. Just as it had with the War of Independence.

The phrase “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…” was not intended to be taken as those serving in either a state militia or a state military reserve component. They were meaning the people of the various towns and states being able to defend their towns, their counties, their states, and ultimately their country. This does not limit the people to defending themselves against foreign armies either. It was also meant to allow we the people to defend ourselves against another emperial government, such as Great Britain. That means taking up arms against our own government, if they fail to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Such was the case with the Civil War when the states, as well as families were divided, not along battle lines, but lines of beleif. This put brother against brother.

Fast forward to 2014. We are a nation under distress. Our Constitutional rights are being tested and taken like never before. We have a federal and state government that try to limit our freedom of speech, have vastly expanded the governemnts spying on our own people, and have went as far as to deny an American citizen their right to due process, by allowing Americans to be detained, indefinately, without criminal charges. All of this brings me to the Mountain State, today, where members of the House are airing ads calling for stricter gun control laws.

Thornton Cooper, a frequesnt political candidate, running in the 35th District primary, is airing radio ads, in which he vows to introduce legislation to prohibit firearms in the South Charleston Community Center and other municipal facilities. Cooper said, “I think what the legislature did was absolutely rediculous, and they should be ashamed of themselves. I think cities should be able to make the decision on whether to have guns on city-owned property. I don’t know why that’s so hard to accept.” Richard Lindsey, a first time House candidate, mailed fliers to voters this week, in the 37th Delegate District, pledging to support legislation to keep firearms out of community centers. Lindsey said, “I am appalled that the legislature would pass a bill allowing firearms into our community centers, while at the same time the governor cuts funds to our seniors and victims of domestic abuse. As a frequent visitor to the Chandler Recreation Center in my younger days, and a current board member of the East End Family Resource Center, I know first-hand that our community centers are no place for firearms and are places of refuge for our children and seniors alike. To me, its nonsensical. There’s no benefit to anyone having firearms in rec centers. This is the same position I would take if I were in the 35th or 36th district, or anywhere else. The law does not address a need.”

The 37th district is safely a Democratic district but calling for stiffer gun control laws in the 35th could be a bit risky, as three of the four current delegates are Republicans, and where the delegation voted for SB317, with the exception of Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, who was absent. Cooper says that he’s convinced that the overwhelming majority of votors in the district support the 2nd Amendment, but also don’t want firearms in community centers or other municipal buildings. “I’m not against firearms. I’m not against people having guns in their homes to protect themselves, but I think that’s a far cry from having guns in a community center,” he said.

“The Second Amendment no more gives a person a right to carry a gun into a crowded community center than the First Amendment gives a person a right to shout “fire” in a crowded theater,” said Cooper, a lawyer and a retired state employee. Cooper said he also became concerned after receiving candidate questionnaires from several pro-gun organizations, and a common theme on the questionnaires was about support for repealing current legislation prohibiting firearms on the Capitol grounds. He said he believes it’s time for some pushback.

I, as either a citizen, or a police officer, have no problem with any law abiding citizen carrying a concealed weapon anywhere they choose to carry. The law abiding citizen is not the person to be concerned about. The criminals are the ones that we all need to be concerned about. Governor Tomblin recently signed three bills into law, which helped gun laws in the Mountain State, but we can still do more and we need to do more. I also feel that if the City Charleston wishes to ban concealed carry on their municipal grounds or buildings, they have a right to do so. My concern is that our 2nd Amendment rights are upheld and protected too.

Us Mountaineers are strong supporters of the 2nd Amendment and have been for many decades. We hunt, we recreation shoot, we competition shoot, and many carry concealed weapons. Many more carry than you would ever think. Chances are, you are in close proximity of concealed carry weapons every day and don’t have a clue. No one is shot, no one is assaulted, and no one is hurt. These are not violent people or criminals. God Bless You! God Bless West Virginia! God Bless America!


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