Guns & the 2nd Amendment: A Fresh Perspective

“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.”  –Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Ever since the tragic killing of 17 people by a gunman last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I’ve been thinking about not just the lives lost and their family members, but I’ve also been considering the words found in the Second Amendment.

I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who was the Republican nominee for the 74th House of Delegates district in 2015, I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who was raised in the hunting community of Rockingham County, I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who is a teacher who, with 24 students, has been on lockdown over a potential gun threat which had over 70 law enforcement officers respond to their school, and, finally, I support the 2nd Amendment as someone who sought an NRA endorsement when running for office.

In addition to supporting the 2nd Amendment I also support the following:

1. Expanding mental health services to those who display signs of violence. Once someone has been identified though due process removing their right to own a gun.

2. Once a person has been deemed mentally incompetent to bear arms have a a due process procedure of rehabilitation prior to them being able to purchase a gun again.

3. Having a database for those who are not allowed to have a gun, such as the mentally ill, felons, and terrorists and requiring anyone buying a gun to have their name checked against the database and prohibiting anyone who is on the database from purchasing any gun.

4. Outlawing weapons that can shoot hundreds of rounds in the span of a few minute. 10-15 bullets per magazine is reasonable.

5. Have students in middle school learn about guns and gun safety. I took a hunter safety class in my middle school health class.

6. Providing resources to every school in America to have a uniformed School Resource Officer.

7. Increasing the age from 18 to 21 to buy a rifle.

There are a few aspects about this gun debate that I do not support, among them, arming teachers. As a teacher I think this idea is not thought out and misinformed by those who have no idea what goes on in a school on a daily basis. Teachers have a tremendous amount going on inside their school and classroom on a daily basis and having to think through a situation of whether or not to use their gun should not be an additional duty.

As a Technology Education teacher, I teach about the changes of technology over time. Our Founders could not fathom what the current power, pace, and velocity of arms could have been in 2018. When our 2nd Amendment was written it took a well-trained soldier about two or three times a minute to load and fire a smoothbore musket. So as we look at the 2nd Amendment, we must examine it through that lens.

As I stated before I ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, while I lost that election, one day I want to run again for public office. As a Republican, what I have just written may cost me being the nominee of our party; however, it’s imperative that we do what’s right not what is politically beneficial.

We have seen 20 out of the top 24 mass shootings, in terms of deaths, in this country since 1990. Common sense would dictate that something is wrong and that something needs to be fixed. The people are calling for action to save lives and prevent more murders of people.

There are many things that I support alongside the 2nd Amendment. However, inaction by our leaders is something I do not support and it is not acceptable. The majority of our country is demanding meaningful change and action. If our elected leaders do not act and make meaningful change in our gun laws, they will suffer at the ballot box.

Matt Walton is the former Republican nominee for the 74th House of Delegates and is a member of the Henrico County Republican Committee. Matt is a high school technology & engineering education teacher and is heavily involved in local, state, and national politics. You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt4Va.

  • Jim Portugul

    The corrupt media, which has taken control of the minds of a corrupt society, has now decided that the total, complete, and absolute failure of the FBI had no part in the Florida shooting.

    The same FBI that failed us on 911, the same FBI that failed us with the Boston bombers, has once again failed us in Florida. Translated for you people, government has failed us again. Over 35,000 employee’s in the FBI, and nothing. If the media were not corrupt and in bed with the corrupt government, they would be reporting that.

    Are these FBI “special agents” just to busy texting each other trying to get “laid” by a co-worker to be bothered with multiple warnings about a psyco kid with a gun in Florida?

    Sorry, this ones on the FBI, which is government. No changes in gun control. Period. Once you open that door, you cannot close it. Screw the crooked media and the crooked government.

    • n_iz_4_nazarene

      The local law enforcement and the school district failed to act before this event also. USAToday is now stating that a deputy was on scene and failed to act during the shooting. So why are guns are being sold as the problem?

  • disqus_p6hJ2yoKYN

    First of all, trying to strengthen the gun laws pertaining to people with mental health issues won’t work, because there are privacy laws prohibiting doctors from reporting their patients to the police, unless they are a clear threat to the community, which isn’t always clear. Second, how about if we ban all detachable magazine clips altogether? That’s the only way you’ll ever reduce the lethality of modern firearms. Yes, the gun worshipers will be apoplectic, but at this point who cares? Our children’s lives are more important than the toys of the gun lovers.

    • How about we quit blaming guns for people’s actions? Making drugs illegal doesn’t seem to have stopped them. Banning guns will only affect law abiding citizens. If people really want to kill they will find a way.

      • John Martin

        they won’t be firing 100 rounds a minute

    • J.M. Ripley

      My God given, constitutional protected rights are not secondary to anyone’s life. When the people exchange liberty for security they will have neither. Ben Franklin.

  • #4 is pointless – reducing the number of rounds a magazine can hold won’t limit these shootings, it will simply mean the shooter brings more magazines with them. It takes seconds to reload an AR-15 or a handgun, and the more training the faster you can be. You won’t reduce the number of deaths by limiting capacity.

    #7 is unnecessary – yes, this shooter was 19. Age 18 is old enough to get drafted, drive a car, vote and it’s the age of majority when every other right adults enjoy vests in someone. Drinking is the only thing that you can’t do at that point. There’s no real reason to pretend that age 18 isn’t sufficient in terms of maturity to handle buying a rifle (or a handgun for that matter). We have got to stop treating 18 year olds and older as children. They’re not kids. They’re adults. They deserve to be treated that way and held accountable that way.

    • Jim Portugul

      We have always had mentally ill
      students and adults, with the same gun laws we have now. We have had assault rifles and/or automatic guns for 100 years. What has changed in the last 10-15 years that makes people want to do these things?

      Obiviously logic indicates that the problem is not the mentally ill nor guns as they both have been around longer than the problem. The problem being one of only of the last 10-15 years.

      Right now, the media has a stranglehold on this until it is able to find a replacement catastrophe. Then all is forgotten until the next psycho.

    • M. D. Russ

      Number 6 is already in effect. The Parkland high school had an armed and uniformed School Resource Officer with over 30 years experience on the campus. He apparently hid in the bushes outside the school wetting his pants while kids inside were being killed. Meanwhile, an unarmed football coach inside threw himself in front of students, taking bullets meant for them and dying. So much for Trump’s and the NRA’s contention that the best solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

      • H G

        Clearly not a good guy or at least not the guy for the job.

        Numerous criminal attempts have been thwarted by good guys with guns. The officer was the exception to the rule.

    • H G

      Makes sense.

  • Gohen

    As long as politicians continue their standard course of action. They promote situations not Solutions. They will never address the actual causes here. All of these individuals who committed these acts left the signs before the ACT. They are the ones that kill people not guns. They will always find tools to commit murder. We need to stop them not disarm the citizens

  • Jay Hughes

    Regarding your 7 points above, points 1-3 already exist. Expanding mental health services would be money well spent. If we did more of that then maybe Sen. Deeds’ son wouldn’t have taken his own life and horribly disfiguring his father beforehand. We also need to work to end the stigma on mental health. A person with mental health issues is not a monster or Hannibal Lecter. They are people who need treatment. We don’t stigmatize folks with hypertension. We see it as a condition to be treated with meds and lifestyle changes. Regarding adjudication, someone is adjudicated mentally incompetent (i.e. mentally ill) they are barred from purchasing, owning, and, operating a firearm. This has been the law for a long, long time. The only way they can have their 2A rights restored is to be adjudicated mentally competent. We already have an eligibility database. Outlawing weapons that meet your criteria of “firing too much, too fast” is too vague and simply not feasible. You would need to do that via a massive gun buy back program. A forced confiscation effort would plunge this country into its second Civil War. As for evolving technology, the 2A is working exactly as the founders intended. The founders were extremely intelligent and it is reasonable to expect they anticipated technological innovation from many fronts. Indeed, the ballistic technological innovation of rifling happened in the middle of the Revolution and greatly increased the accuracy and lethality of Continental firearms over the British smooth bore firearms. As for education, absolutely. Education never hurt anyone. However, education is the solution as long as ignorance is the problem. We have all kinds of sex education programs but we still have teens with unwanted/unplanned pregnancy and STDs. It’s not that teens don’t know how the baby is made (insert tab A into slide B) it’s just that they don’t care or they don’t think it will happen to them. Gun safety education mainly prevents firearm accidents. NO amount of education would have stopped the young man in Florida from committing the atrocity he did. Resource officers are definitely a good idea. But we need to follow the Israeli model. Once the kids are in school, all the doors are locked to keep the bad guys out. And there are always several teachers with concealed firearms to take down an armed intruder in the unlikely event he can circumvent security countermeasures.
    Next, it is time for a full scale review of the FBI and the federal bureaucracy in general. There were numerous tips delivered to the FBI regarding Nikolos Cruz but the FBI failed to over and over to investigate. The centralized tip line call center located in West Virginia failed to pass some of the tips to the field office in Miami. We need to reform the bureaucracy to make it easier to fire incompetent and underperforming federal employees. It should come as no surprise when reports are released showing thousands of federal employees spending 8 hours/day surfing porn and entertainment websites like YouTube. There’s nothing like the specter of dismissal looming over one’s head as incentive to stay focused and do your best. I’ve been a military contractor for 20 years now and I’ve seen countless federal employees come to work and do nothing but surf entertainment sites and e-commerce sites. Yes, there are federal employees who do their jobs well and want to make a difference but they are far and few between.
    Finally we need to understand the difference between mental health issues and evil. Evil will always find a way to commit evil deeds. The Tsarnaov brothers didn’t use any firearms at the Boston Marathon. They used pressure cookers and explosive materials easily purchased. How would we prevent that? Ban pressure cookers? Require a pressure cooker license? There comes a time when we have to accept there is evil in the world. And no amount of sacrificing our liberty for security will change that. In fact, it will only embolden evil persons to commit more evil acts.

    • M. D. Russ

      Very well said, Jay.

      • Jay Hughes

        thank you, sir….may I have another?

        • M. D. Russ

          Don’t let it go to your head. This is Bearing Drift, not the New York Times.

          • Jay Hughes

            Given how this blog has shifted to the left since the new management took over, it’s easy to see how I confused the two. 🙂

  • Ima1492

    Outlawing weapons that can shoot hundreds of rounds in the span of a few minute. 10-15 bullets per magazine is reasonable.


    • John Martin

      the same could be asked of you

  • old_redneck

    The Second Amendment dates from 1791.

    Here’s a partial list of what was happening in 1791:
    — Slavery was legal
    — Indentured servitude was legal
    — One in ten pregnant women died in childbirth
    — Bloodletting was the treatment for most diseases
    — Travel was on foot, horse, mule, or wagon or coach pulled by horses, mules or oxen; or by boat — oar or sail.
    — Women could not own property.

    The Second Amendment was a compromise, forced by Southern representatives who wanted to ensure they could maintain state militias that would not be seconded to a national militia. They insisted on state militias because those organizations were, in fact, slave patrols that captured runaways and otherwise kept slaves in line.

    Its time has past. Repeal it.

    • Jay Hughes

      Ok….so we repeal the 2A. Then what?

  • n_iz_4_nazarene

    If our lives are more important and outweigh our rights, then why did we fight WW2? We would have saved approximately 400K US lives if we had just capitulated to the Japanese after Pearl Harbor or given the keys to the Germans the next day.

    Removing the rights of a US citizen without a conviction of a crime is a dangerous precedent to set. Who would wield such strong powers? A judge, a panel of your neighbors, a board of physicians?

    A database of names is also dangerous because it can be hacked, manipulated by bureaucrats for political gain or used for criminal purposes such as blackmail.

    All of your suggestions do nothing to harden a school like other government buildings. Why are children less important than judges, attorneys, police officers and bureaucrats?

    If the age limit is raised to 21 for rifle ownership, then either the military draft age should be raised to 21 or the exemption should be waived if someone under 21 is serving our country in uniform.

    • John Martin

      no “hardening the schools”

  • n_iz_4_nazarene

    One final point…still enough is not being said about mind altering SSRI drugs and the impact that they have had on murders and suicides. Politicians seem to be turning a blind eye to the fact that these drugs are being used by the a majority of killers prior to mass shootings.

    • Jim Portugul

      Lobbyist dollars are stopping the truth about this from coming out.

      • M. D. Russ

        Yes. And lobbyist dollars are stopping the public from knowing that 9-11 was planned by Israel, that the moon landings were faked, and that fluoridation causes male impotence.

        • Jay Hughes

          have you ever seen a Commie drink water? We can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and impurify our precious, bodily fluids.

        • Jim Portugul

          If you say so…,,

  • Penguin

    UVA has decided to violate the first amendment by saying to prospective students that if they get disciplined for skipping school to engage in pro gun control speech, that it won’t be held against them in admissions. This is a blatant violation of the first amendment by UVA.

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